Gospel: Lk 13:10-17
Jesus was teaching in a synagogue on the Sabbath, and a crippled woman was there. An evil spirit had kept her bent for eighteen years, so that she could not straighten up at all. On seeing her, Jesus called her and said, “Woman, you are freed from your infirmity.” Then he laid his hands upon her, and immediately she was made straight and praised God. But the ruler of the synagogue was indignant, because Jesus had performed this healing on the Sabbath day, and he said to the people, “There are six days in which to work. Come on those days to be healed, and not on the Sabbath!” But the Lord replied, “You hypocrites! Everyone of you unties his ox or his donkey on the Sabbath, and leads it out of the barn to give it water. And here you have a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan had bound for eighteen years. Should she not be freed from her bonds on the Sabbath?” When Jesus said this, all his opponents felt ashamed. But the people rejoiced at the many wonderful things that happened because of him.
There are two powerful gospel stories in Luke 7:36-50 and Luke 13: 10-17. The first is the story of a woman who entered the house of a Pharisee, named Simon. He had invited Jesus for a meal; while at table, she began to wash the feet of Jesus with both her tears and ointment. The second is a woman bent over for eighteen years. The two women have something in common – shame, worthlessness and their oppressive exclusion due to their bodies (sin, sickness, bleeding, and deformity). Their wretched bodies make them outsiders a socio-cultural-religious context which considers them impure, subservient, and invisible. In the narrative, they all break the rules of culture and religious purity and observance. The first enters the house of Simon without being invited; the second appears before Jesus in the synagogue on the Sabbath. What is so significant about the movement of the two women is reality of the disempowered outsider who initiates the miracle process. The bent-over woman invited Jesus to break the Sabbath in favor of her liberation from years of deformity, suffering, and exclusion. She became part of, and was an active participant in, the Reign of God as well as privileged beneficiary of the miracle and empowerment of Jesus. Faith seeking embodiment shatters any justification to the violence done against women and children today. All bodies are sacred and resist any form of commodification and exclusion.
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