Saint for the day: Anthony Mary Claret (1807-1870)
Ephesians 4:32- 5:8 – Psalm 1 – Luke 13:10-17
“Blessed the one who follows not the counsel of the wicked … but delights in the Law of the Lord.” (Psalm 1:1-2)
Yesterday, we heard from St. Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus giving the people a reminder of the “Shema Israel – to love the Lord, your God with all your heart, your soul and strength (or) mind.” He also said, this is the greatest of the commandments and the second is like it: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:38-40) A word of caution, since so many of us have a very poor image of our own worth, it’s probably better if we don’t use that as a standard of measurement. But, maybe, this might be a time for us to reflect on that very subject. Remember what St. Thomas Aquinas says, “you can’t give what you don’t have.” So this is a perfect time for us to reflect on our own self worth. Can you believe that, if you were the only person in the world God would still have sent His only Son to redeem you? Until we can really believe that we’ll have a hard time following that 2nd Greatest Commandment: to love our neighbor as ourselves. It might take a little time for this to sink in but just think what we say right before receiving Holy Communion? “O Lord I am not worthy … but only say the word …and I’ll be healed.” And don’t forget the response that we say as Jesus – the Bread of Life – comes to us: “Amen!” That word translates “fiat” or “let it be” or better yet “it is true.” It’s the word that Mary said when the Angel came to her to announce that she was to be the mother of God: “Let it be done to me according to your word.”
In today’s Holy Gospel Jesus is still in the Synogue where he encounters a women who is bent over double for 18 years under a curse of Satan. Of course the Scribes and Pharisee types were indignant that He worked a miracle on the Sabbath and in such cases He would reply, “There is something [more important] greater than the Sabbath here. As is always the case we have to be able to see that the “Sabbath Laws” are a means to an end. Not an end in themselves. It wasn’t so long ago that we heard the parable of the Good Samaritan and learned that the fulfillment of that second greatest commandment comes about when we are not held bound by a law which is given to make us free … to do good when our neighbor is in need. A priest recently told me that he was at a Mass where a woman came in the Communion line … hesitatingly and told him, “I’m about five minutes short of the one hour fast for Communion. What should I do?” The priest looked at her and said, “Say ‘Amen!’” Think about it!