The Gospel for this Sunday November 29th, is the reading for the 10th Sunday of Luke and speaks about Jesus’ healing of a crippled woman. Throughout the earthly ministry of Our Lord, Jesus often met with people who had various physical handicaps. We know from the various gospels read during the year about the blind beggar on the road to Jericho (Luke 18:35-43), the paralyzed man who was carried by his four friends to Jesus (Mark 2:1-12), the man with the paralyzed hand (Mark 3:1-6) and many others.
In ancient times it was thought that some physical handicaps were the result of demonic possession. Jesus did not treat people with disabilities any different from anyone else. He loved them as He did everyone else. He approached them not as disabled persons but as persons with a disability. That makes the difference.
As the story goes the crippled woman was healed by Jesus on the Sabbath day and was condemned by the leader of the synagogue who said there are six days of the week to heal but not on the sabbath, but Jesus said. “You hypocrites”, do you not lead your ox to water on the sabbath, then why should not this women crippled some eighteen years, not be healed of the malady that afflicted her, to which the people praised God for this miracle.
We are easily shocked by any good work which is not, “according to the rules”…Church people are especially prone to the temptation to denigrate and condemn all that is not of “their orthodoxy”. Let this gospel, (about the crippled woman and the synagogue official) teach us, therefore, to become humble enough, amenable enough to all light from above to admit – with joy and gratitude- the good that can be done through other channels than those which, rightly or wrongly, we consider, “proper”.
May God make us able, when faced by any “healing on the Sabbath”, to feel what the people who surrounded Jesus felt. For it said, in concluding the reading, “All the people rejoiced for all the glorious things that were done by Him.”
We also this Thanksgiving weekend celebrate the feast of the Holy Apostle Andrew (November 30th), the first to be called to follow Christ. The name Andrew is derived from the Greek word “andreia” meaning “courage” for Andrew, a simple fisherman along with his brother, Peter, gave up their livelihood to follow Jesus. In a special hymn of the day it sings, “Let us praise for his courage. Andrew the Theologian, first Apostle of the Savior and brother of Peter; for in like manner as he drew his brother to Christ, he cries out also to us: “Come, for we have found the One Whom the world desires.”
O holy Apostle Andrew, the first called, pray unto God for us!