“Receiving the touch of the Lord, in order to be safe, from being drowned in the troubled waters of life!”
(Based on Phil 1: 1-11 and Lk 14:1-6 – Friday of the 30th Week in Ordinary Time)
For our reflection today, we shall make a verse by verse analysis of the Gospel Passage…
The passage under consideration is the Healing of the man with dropsy on the Sabbath Day.
Let us carefully reflect on this amazingly dramatic incident…
The passage begins with the statement, “On a Sabbath, Jesus went to dine at the home of one of the leading Pharisees…” (Lk 14:1a)
Here was an invitation of a high and elite nature…
A leading Pharisee of the Jewish society had called Jesus to his home.
He was joined by many other scholars of the Law and the Pharisees.
Maybe it was a show of one’s status and pride and dignity as a great Pharisee…
Maybe it was another chance for the critics of Jesus to find something to crib about him…
“…and the people there were observing Him carefully…” (Lk 14:1b)
To be invited for a dinner was something nice and pleasant…
But to be invited to become an object of observation and scanning was bad enough.
“The people were observing Him carefully” suggested a suspicious action…
It was as if, some thieves were waiting eagerly to strike on their target…
It was as if, some fierce lions, were stealthily preparing to pounce upon their prey…
And then comes the bait “In front of him, there was a man suffering from dropsy” (Lk 14:2)
Dropsy was a condition in which there was an unnatural collection of serous (pale yellow and transparent) fluid in any cavity of the body.
Dropsy was water retention in the body.
Dropsy itself was not a disease, but a symptom of a disease.
It could be a number of things – complications of the liver or kidney or the heart or all three!
In the Jewish understanding, someone who had this condition of dropsy, was seen as a great sinner, even related to being a sexual sinner.
This sickness was a pointer to the man’s condition of being highly unclean!
But to bring back our attention to the Gospel…
Was this not a setting of a dinner?
Was not Jesus called for a meal…
… and that too, a dinner with the elite and leading religious people…
…and that too, on a Sabbath day?!
Then what was a man with dropsy, a serious condition of uncleanness, doing there?
The plot of the drama seems to be thickening…
The setup seems to be getting clear…
The Pharisees have invited Jesus for a meal, yes…but probably with a hidden and a mean agenda:
Drop a man with dropsy in front of Jesus… and observe what he does!
They knew Jesus had the power to heal… but they also knew that it would lead to violation of the Sabbath!
They knew Jesus would feel compassion on the man…but they also knew that it would give them a chance to go up in arms!
They wanted Jesus to violate the Sabbath to give proof that He was not from God!
The Rabbinical rule was that one could only be doctored if one was going to die immediately on the Sabbath.
But if death is not imminent, wait till the Sabbath is over.
But Jesus had time & again proved, that he had no regard for that lack of compassion or for the folly of that legalism.
In Lk 6:6-11, Jesus healed a withered man, on the Sabbath…
In Lk 13: 10-17, Jesus healed a woman, crippled for eighteen years, on the Sabbath…
So, He asks the guests gathered around, “Is it lawful to cure on the Sabbath or not?” (Lk 14:3)
Jesus knew their answer.
Jesus knew their perspective of things.
Yet He wanted them to tell.
“… but they kept silent” (Lk 14:4a)…
They knew the answer too.
They knew it was unlawful.
Still they did not tell Him.
Absolute malicious trapping!
Horrifying trick of deception!
And then Jesus does something astonishing…
“… he took the man, and after he had healed him, dismissed him” (Lk 14:4b)
The Greek word used for “took” is a very very strong verb….”Epilombano”
“Epilombano” literally means to lay hold of or to seize upon anything with the hands
It is the same word used in…
… Lk 23:26, when the soldiers seized Simon of Cyrene to carry the cross
… Acts 16:19 to say that Paul and Silas were seized and dragged by their persecutors..)
The cruel silence of the crowd provokes Jesus, to strongly seize the afflicted man!
He doesn’t work the miracle in hiding or quietly or from a distance!
Rather, with much force, He just grabs the man, seizes him, crushes him in His arms…
… as if to squeeze the fluid out and give him a new heart, a new liver, and a new self and creates in the man a whole new set of internal organs.
And finally Jesus justifies His action with another thundering question, “Who among you, if your son or ox falls into a cistern, would not immediately pull him out on a Sabbath?” (Lk 14:6)
A beautiful picture indeed…
Jesus asks them, “None of you would have allowed your son or ox to drown in the waters, isn’t it?
Then why don’t you see, that I have also saved from drowning… this man with dropsy, drowning in his own fluid!?
Another total silence by the onlookers!
Am I also silent now?
There is much to learn from this dramatic incident, isn’t it?
May this dramatic Gospel incident, become…
… a wonderful inspiration, for us… who need the touch of the Lord, from being drowned in the troubled waters of life!
… a hard warning, for us… who malign other’s lives by seeking to find ways and means to trap them in the works of goodness!
… a tremendous booster, for us… who often get bogged down by troubles of life & instead to be bold to the hard & gritty challenges of life!
Let the prayer of St Paul become a reality in our lives: “And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent…
… and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruits of righteousness which come through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God!” (Phil 1: 9-11)
God Bless! Live Jesus!
Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “Comets appear to be larger than stars and more
fanfare is generally made of them. Yet, they are not comparable to stars either in size or in quality and only seem more spectacular because they are closer.