A reading of the holy Gospel according to Luke 14:1-6
On a sabbath Jesus went to dine at the home of one of the leading Pharisees, and the people there were observing him carefully. In front of him there was a man suffering from dropsy. Jesus spoke to the scholars of the law and Pharisees in reply, asking, "Is it lawful to cure on the sabbath or not?” But they kept silent; so he took the man and, after he had healed him, dismissed him. Then he said to them “Who among you, if your son or ox falls into a cistern, would not immediately pull him out on the sabbath day?” But they were unable to answer his question.
REFLECTION: "Is it lawful to cure on the sabbath or not?”
Dropsy is an old term to describe body swelling or internal fluid buildup. Causes of it may be heart failure, hypothyroidism, renal failure, malnutrition, liver damage, lymphatic and venous problems, chronic obstructive lung disease and pernicious anemia.
The majority of the excess fluid is found in the lower extremities, but patients may have shortness of breath, difficulty walking, ulcers of the lower extremities and increased risk of blood clots. Besides the obvious swelling, one can have skin tightness, shiny skin, abdominal pain, chest pain, breathlessness, swollen and distended abdomen.
We all have experienced "dropsy"--especially after a binge salt consumption, pregnancy, prolonged sitting (such as seen in long plane trips), standing too long or certain drugs such as steroids, blood pressure meds and hormones.
Imagine this long term chronic illness without modern day treatment. Imagine Jesus seeing him and feeling all his suffering. This man was probably alone, dependent on others for basic needs. Without a plea, Jesus knew what he needed.
Jesus ate many times with the Pharisees and He took advantage to teach and engage people. Jesus did not just respond to a social event but had a purpose in mind. He continues to call us to His table to feast on His Word, to know God's story of love and salvation.
Usually the elite were invited to the dinners of the Pharisees and discussions took place. The dining areas were open to the streets and the public could listen to the conversations. The man with dropsy was right in front of Jesus (unclear if he was outside or actually sitting in front of Jesus). This man touched His heart and His compassion. He noticed his needs, stopped, treated and cured him right there on a Sabbath. Jesus broke the Sabbath law not because He was a rebel, or daring, but He let compassion, empathy and the greatest law, "Love God and love your neighbor" be the priority.
Can unexpected guests in your life be an opportunity to minister?
Is someone around you needing help?
Do you need to reach out to someone?
Can you comfort and uplift someone?
God Bless You