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.
By freeing the woman from her infirmity, Jesus fulfills his task of releasing captives from the bonds of evil (cf. v. 4:18). Likewise, he shows the deep meaning of the Sabbath, i.e. liberating humans from the consequences of the fallen order; and he demonstrates its true purpose, i.e., encouraging works of compassion and not forbidding them.
There are various factors that could bind people: ignorance–Jesus ‘teaches‘ to let people know about God and to free them from ignorance (v.10); infirmity -he laid his hand on the crippled woman and immediately she was made straight and praised God (v.11); people–”the ruler of the synagogue” was indignant when Jesus cured the woman (v.14); law (”Sabbath law”)–the ruler said, ”There are six days in which to work. Come on those days to be healed, and not on the Sabbath!” (v.14); and evil–”Satan” has bound the woman for eighteen years (v. 16).
We are called today to trust Jesus for he has the power to free us from different factors that bind and prevent people from becoming holy. Likewise, we are reminded to avoid imitating the ruler of the synagogue so that we may not hinder our neighbor from being healed and may not add to the burdens they are carrying.