One Sabbath Jesus had gone to eat a meal in the house of a leading Pharisee, and he was carefully watched. In front of him was a man suffering from dropsy; so Jesus asked the teachers of the Law and the Pharisees, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath or not?” But no one answered. Jesus then took the man, healed him and sent him away. And he addressed them, “If your lamb or your ox falls into a well on a Sabbath day, who among you doesn’t hurry to pull it out?” And they could not answer.
Today the scenario of the Gospel is not a synagogue. We are in the house of a leading Pharisee. Jesus, the itinerant Rabbi, receives frequent invitations from Pharisees and teachers of the Law. However, there is a second intention. They would like to thoroughly control the conduct of Jesus. It is not a sincere invitation but in some sense it is a trap. Jesus knows and doesn’t decline the meeting. This kind of invitation occurs normally on Sabbath. And easily, on Sabbath there are special occasions to discover the true actions and even the doctrine of Jesus. He is indeed a teacher who has not studied nor can be controlled.
In fact the occasion immediately arrives. A man suffering from dropsy is there. It is a terrible infirmity that provokes constant thirst. Jesus takes the initiative to ask about the lawfulness of healing. But the audience is silent. Nobody wants to expose himself. Jesus instead knows his thoughts and the firm foundation of his deeds.
In him alone we have the source of our Christian ethics in a ceaseless pedagogy in the Spirit.
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