“Which of you, having a son or an ox that has fallen into a well, will not immediately pull him out on a sabbath day?” (Luke 14:5)
At the heart of all the commandments God demands of us, is Love. “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.” (1 Corinthians 13:1-3).
No matter how holy we may think we are, if we do not love, our holiness is wasted. This is what Jesus demonstrates in our Gospel passage this morning. He was invited to dine in the house of a ruler who belonged to the Pharisees and he knew that even those at the table with him were not really his friends. They had not invited him out of love but as a test, they wanted him to say or do something that would be used against him.
And behold, out of the blues there arrived a man in the banquet hall who had dropsy. Would Jesus decide to turn a cold face towards this man and pretend as if he didn’t notice his malady? Or would he just go out his way to heal this man and thereby break the Sabbath law?
The wise Jesus simply looked at the scenario and decided to teach everyone present a lesson in love. Jesus asked them: “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath, or not?” meaning, “Does the Sabbath law forbid anyone from performing an act of love?” They pretended not to get the message by keeping quiet so Jesus clarified himself, “Which of you here would sit down and do nothing if his son or even his animal falls into a well on a Sabbath day? They became ashamed of themselves. They realized the foolishness of trying to keep God’s commandment without the added dimension of love.
Growing up demands that we are no longer content with keeping the law as it is stated in black and white but that we now aim to love God above all things and our neighbour as ourselves.
Growing up demands that we feed the hungry, clothe the naked and perform acts of kindness to people we do not even know or expect any return, it demands that we actually go all the way even to offer our very blood for the benefit of others.
Like St. Paul said in our first reading: “I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart… for the sake of my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh.”
Let us pray: Lord Jesus, open my heart to love you as I ought and to love my neighbour and teach me that it is only in love that I truly offer you any meaningful worship. Amen.
Bible Study: Romans 9:1-5, Ps. 147:12-15,19-20, Luke 14:1-6)