Free from all Infirmities

Luke 7:18-23
Is 45:6-8.18.21-25 / Ps 85

And blessed is the one who takes no offense at me.
(Luke 7:23)

The deaf can hear, the blind can see,
The lame walk, and lepers are cleansed;
But blessed for all eternity
Are those who “never take offense.”

John’s disciples told him about all these things. Calling two of them, he sent them to the Lord to ask, “Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?” When the men came to Jesus, they said, “John the Baptist sent us to you to ask, ‘Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?’” At that very time Jesus cured many who had diseases, sicknesses and evil spirits, and gave sight to many who were blind. So he replied to the messengers, “Go back and report to John what you have seen and heard: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor. And blessed is the one who takes no offense at me.” (Luke 7:18-23)

Reflection

It is not easy to be a follower of Christ. Being His disciple means taking no offense at anyone. Taking offense at another is also like taking offense at our Lord because we are all made in His image and likeness. And as He said, He makes the gentle rain fall on the offended as well as the offender. The evil one makes us undeserving of God’s love by prodding us to hate our enemies. He makes our enemies appear despicable to us to arouse hatred in our hearts. Our Lord counters this by reminding us in the Gospel to be more forgiving of each other’s faults. He broke bread with sinners. He never condemned anyone, except the Pharisees who were stubborn in their pride, hypocrisy and self-righteousness.

As long as we are alive here on earth, we will always be vulnerable to all kinds of infirmities and disease. But the gentle souls that take no offense against anyone are the ones who live long and fruitful lives. This brings to mind my paternal grandfather who reached 103 years of age. We never saw him get angry or even get irritable, whatever the situation he was in. He was always smiling, always happy with everyone he met. He never complained about anything, or was ever impatient or bored, even as he sat all alone, day in and day out, for many years in that small “sari-sari” store that my father gave him and my lola to keep them busy in their old age. He took such simple joys in flirting with the helpers who came to buy soap, matches or cooking oil at his little store, or to slip some candies to his many ‘apos’ when my lola was not looking. The wonder of it was, despite the lack of exercise or vitamins, he and our lola hardly ever got sick. It was enough for them that they had a little business to manage, and no reason to take offense at anything or anyone. In that they were always happy, healthy and truly blessed.

“Blessed is the one who takes no offense…” May the Lord Jesus free us from all kinds of enmities. Amen.

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