Breaking Barriers

October 24, 2016
Monday of the Thirtieth Week in Ordinary Time
The Gospel Today
Luke 13:10-17

Jesus was teaching in a synagogue on the sabbath.
And a woman was there who for eighteen years
had been crippled by a spirit;
she was bent over, completely incapable of standing erect.
When Jesus saw her, he called to her and said,
“Woman, you are set free of your infirmity.”
He laid his hands on her,
and she at once stood up straight and glorified God.
But the leader of the synagogue,
indignant that Jesus had cured on the sabbath,
said to the crowd in reply,
“There are six days when work should be done.
Come on those days to be cured, not on the sabbath day.”
The Lord said to him in reply, “Hypocrites!
Does not each one of you on the sabbath
untie his ox or his ass from the manger
and lead it out for watering?
This daughter of Abraham,
whom Satan has bound for eighteen years now,
ought she not to have been set free on the sabbath day
from this bondage?”
When he said this, all his adversaries were humiliated;
and the whole crowd rejoiced at all the splendid deeds done by him.

REFLECTION (Sem. Maximilian B. Estayo)

One of the most important lessons I have learned in the seminary is never to think about myself all the time. Part of my letting go is to think of others’ welfare. It did not come easy. It had to be pointed out to me often. And it hurt me each time I realized my failure.

Jesus in today’s Gospel showed so much compassion to a woman infirmed for 18 years that seeing her and without her asking for it, he healed her. But the synagogue leader resented it because Jesus did it on the Sabbath. Jesus had so much goodness in his heart. By contrast, the synagogue leader was thinking only of compliance to rules as it was his duty to enforce it. He missed the chance to show an act of mercy and kindness and end the poor woman’s long-suffering.

I had some of rules myself with regards to my actions. And all these were geared at self-preservation. A classic example is time allotment. I had the so-called “me-times,” or periods of taking care of myself to remove the stress of the daily life. On one hand I reasoned that I would be better disposed to service if I were well and rested. But on the other, there are people who need immediate attention. It is about how to sacrifice my personal times for their sake that I struggled with.

I guess it requires practice and it is in the seminary that I am learning it. In the future if I would end up a priest, it would be the hard life I would face. It pays to breaks the barriers now so that when it comes I can adapt to it.

More than that, I must follow the example of Jesus, to consider the needs of others first before my own, even at the risk to my repute and well being. That is the true measure of service to the flock.

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