Go Free

‘Here I am.’ Says God through the prophet Isaiah, ‘ If you remove the yoke from among you, the pointing of the finger, the speaking of evil, if you offer your food to the hungry and satisfy the needs of the afflicted, then your light shall rise in the darkness and …’ (Isa 58.9-10)
The pious fingers are well and truly pointed at Jesus in Sunday’s gospel reading (Lk 13.10-17) when he heals a woman, sick for 18 yrs, at the synagogue and, wait for it, ‘on the Sabbath day’! Yes, such objection does sound utterly ridiculous and images of Monty Python do indeed leap in the imagination but, to strict followers of the Torrah (Law of Moses), working on the Sabbath was punishable by execution (Exodus 31.15).
Jesus’ response is compelling: “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?” (Lk 13.15) The Sabbath, as Jesus says elsewhere, is made for humankind, not the other way around. Its purpose, by God’s grace, is to set the people free. He has set the woman free from her sickness and from any sin the finger pointers or speakers of evil may associate with it (oh yes they did!) And here lies the message for us from Isaiah too.
God calls us to cut away the binds that tie us to darkness and misery and go free! If we find ourselves pointing fingers or speaking ‘of evil’, then we must stop and instead minister to the need we perceive. Finger pointing and bad words may well hurt their target; they may on the other hand be ignored. Either way, they imprison the soul of the one who does them.
Look for the Sabbath on Sunday. Look for the Sabbath every day. You will find her in prayer and in silent contemplation of the Word, of nature, of the breath of Life with which you have been blessed.
If you do, ‘The Lord will guide you continually, and satisfy your needs in parched places…and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters never fail’ (Isa 58.11).

~ by Fr Tim Ardouin on August 22, 2013.

One Response to “Go Free”

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