Biblical Readings for each day's Mass,
(for the Liturgical Year 2021)

Monday, October 25 2021
Week 30 in Ordinary Time

1st Reading: Romans 8:12-17

In the Spirit, we are God's children; he is our "Aba--Father"

So then, my brothers and sisters, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh--for if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.

All who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received a spirit of adoption. When we cry, "Abba! Father!" it is that very Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ--if, in fact, we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him.

Responsorial: Psalm 67:2, 4, 6-7, 20-21

R./: Our God is the God of salvation.

Let God arise, let his foes be scattered.
 Let those who hate him flee before him.
But the just shall rejoice at the presence of God,
 they shall exult and dance for joy. (R./)

Father of the orphan, defender of the widow,
 such is God in his holy place.
God gives the lonely a home to live in;
 he leads the prisoners forth into freedom. (R./)

May the Lord be blessed day after day.
 He bears our burdens, God our saviour.
This God of ours is a God who saves.
 The Lord our God holds the keys of death. (R./)

Gospel: Luke 13:10-17

Jesus cures a woman on the sabbath, causing indignation

Jesus was teaching in one of the synagogues on the sabbath. Just then there appeared a woman with a spirit that had crippled her for eighteen years. She was bent over and was quite unable to stand up straight. When Jesus saw her, he called her over and said, "Woman, you are set free from your ailment." When he laid his hands on her, immediately she stood up straight and began praising God. But the leader of the synagogue, indignant because Jesus had cured on the sabbath, kept saying to the crowd, "There are six days on which work ought to be done; come on those days and be cured, and not on the sabbath day."

The Lord answered him and said, "You hypocrites! Does not each of you on the sabbath untie his ox or his donkey from the manger, and lead it away to give it water? And ought not this woman, a daughter of Abraham whom Satan bound for eighteen long years, be set free from this bondage on the sabbath day" When he said this, all his opponents were put to shame; and the entire crowd was rejoicing at al the wonderful things that he was doing.

Putting healing first

Seeing badly stooped older people, their backs curved from constant manual labour, is a sadly common sight in developing countries. They have spent their strength by back-breaking work in rice fields or elsewhere; they have for so long had to look at the ground that they are almost unable to stand up straight. But despite their hysical condition such people are often spiritually strong. Their words carry earthy common sense and they reject idle speculations. Their calloused hands can hold their infant grandchild with delicate care and their old eyes still communicate contentment and peace.

Jesus saw one such woman while teaching in a synagogue one sabbath day. He knew that tradition forbade any work to be done on the sabbath, but he was instinctually drawn to help and to heal, whenever his help was needed, whether on a workday or on the sabbath. In the Law, the reason for not working on the sabbath was to imitate the Creator. After the work of creation was complete, God "rested on the sabbath day" (Exod 20:11). On this particular sabbath, the creative, healing force within Jesus would not let him rest until this ailing woman was restored to what she was meant to be.

Seeing her, Jesus says a word of healing and laid his hands on her. He was guided by his certainty that the sabbath was meant to bring people fullness of life. When the synagogue ruler indignantly protests against healing on the sabbath, Jesus gave a witty and common-sense reply. "You hypocrites. Which of you does not let his ox or ass out of the stall on the sabbath to water it? Should not this woman be released from her shackles on the sabbath?"

On a more doctrinal level, Paul affirms the mysterious presence of God's spirit within humankind. The Holy Spirit reveals to our human spirit that we are children of God. Later he is even more pointed, "The whole created world eagerly awaits the revelation of the children of God." The cure of the stooped woman was one small step in the direction of this restored humanity. Such an act of healing renews our faith that God is still at work in us, to fulfil our stature as children of God. The faith of our crippled or handicapped neighbours can deepen our own trust in the healing power of God.

Life-enhancing activity

A synagogue official sternly insists that no work should be done on the Sabbath. In reply Jesus says that God's work can be done on any day of the week. He was doing God's work by releasing a woman from an arthritic condition. By easing her rheumatic pains, he set her free to live a fuller life.

His principle is that any loving, life-enhancing action is lawful and good at any time. There is no day, no time, when helpful actions are forbidden. Each of us who follow Jesus are invited to share in his work of releasing our neighbours from pain and distress. We are to be helpful friends, aware of people's needs, forgiving each other as God has forgiven us in Christ, loving as Christ has loved us. All of us share in the Lord's life-giving, liberating work.

In his healing ministry, Jesus was not seeking fame or praise for himself. We are told that the cure of the woman led her to praise God. "immediately she stood up straight and began praising God." When we take our part in the Lord's work, it is not for our own glory but so that God be praised.