On Mercy

Luke 13: 10-17
Eph 4:32—5:8 / Psa 1

Then should not this woman, a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has kept bound for eighteen long years, be set free on the Sabbath day from what bound her?”

Of many things I can’t discern,
Lord Jesus heal my crippled faith;
And if I fall please help me learn
To find the will to stand up straight.

On a Sabbath Jesus was teaching in one of the synagogues, and a woman was there who had been crippled by a spirit for eighteen years. She was bent over and could not straighten up at all. When Jesus saw her, He called her forward and said to her, “Woman, you are set free from your infirmity.” Then He put His hands on her, and immediately she straightened up and praised God. Indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, the synagogue leader said to the people, “There are six days for work. So come and be healed on those days, not on the Sabbath.” The Lord answered him, “You hypocrites! Doesn’t each of you on the Sabbath untie your ox or donkey from the stall and lead it out to give it water? Then should not this woman, a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has kept bound for eighteen long years, be set free on the Sabbath day from what bound her?” When He said this, all his opponents were humiliated, but the people were delighted with all the wonderful things He was doing. (Luke 13:10-17)

Reflection

The holiest day of the week for the Jews was the Sabbath, or for us Christians, Sunday, our sacred day when we are obliged to go to mass. Since it is the holiest day, it is not only the best day for worship, but also the best day for works of mercy. If we are asked not to work on Sunday, it is only to emphasize that this special day for worshipping the Lord must not be interrupted by any temporal matters.

All good works, including visiting the sick or the imprisoned, giving alms, or healing the sick or infirmed are not temporal distractions. On the contrary, they are all pleasing to God, and serve to glorify Him because all works of mercy are inspired by God. The best time to heal the sick and help the poor is on the Sabbath. It is the day of the Lord when He is most honoured for His Divine Mercy.

Pope Francis, in declaring this year as a year of mercy, has opened the door for most of us to follow the example of Jesus, our God of Mercy, and His mother Mary, who is the Blessed Mother of Mercy. This month of October is especially significant in this regard as this is the time when she is most honoured by the Church. We called our monthly worship last Friday as our Marian Prayer Assembly, and was led by one of our sisters in the brotherhood. It was the most well-attended prayer assemblies that our chapter had, showcasing the affection and devotion we hold for Mama Mary. I am sure the testimonies shared by some members have inspired many of us to seek her intercession in our prayers for God’s mercy for healing or other personal needs.

We read many instances in Luke’s Gospel where our Lord shows His compassion to women who needed it most, like the sick mother-in-law of Peter in Lk.4:38-39, the woman with a haemorrhage, and the raising of Jairus’ daughter in Lk.8:40-56, and even to those who did not ask for His help, as in the case of this crippled woman in the synagogue, and the poignant encounter of Jesus with a widow at Nain (Lk.7:12-15), where He brought her dead son back to life.

Lord Jesus, You have shown us that acts of mercy, and not the strict observance of laws are what make us righteous in the eyes of God. Help us to always be faithful in following Your example. Amen.

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