Continuation of the holy Gospel according to St. Luke, 14. 1-11.
In illo témpore: Cum intráret Jesus in domum cujúsdam príncipis pharisæórum sábbato manducáre panem, et ipsi observábant eum. Et ecce homo quidam hydrópicus erat ante illum. Et respóndens Jesus, dixit ad legisperítos et pharisǽos, dicens: Si licet sábbato curáre? At illi tacuérunt. Ipse vero apprehénsum sanávit eum ac dimísit. Et respóndens ad illos, dixit: Cujus vestrum ásinus aut bos in púteum cadet, et non contínuo éxtrahet illum die sábbati? Et non póterant ad hæc respondére illi. Dicébat autem et ad invitátos parábolam, inténdens quómodo primos accúbitus elígerent, dicens ad illos: Cum invitátus fúeris ad núptias, non discúmbas in primo loco, ne forte honorátior te sit invitátus ab illo, et véniens is qui te et illum vocávit, dicat tibi: Da huic locum: et tunc incípias cum rubóre novíssimum locum tenere. Sed cum vocátus fúeris, vade, recúmbe in novíssimo loco: ut, cum vénerit qui te invitávit, dicat tibi: Amíce, ascénde supérius. Tunc erit tibi glória coram simul discumbéntibus: quia omnis, qui se exáltat, humiliábitur: et qui se humíliat, exaltábitur.
At that time, when Jesus went into the house of one of the chief of the Pharisees on the Sabbath day to eat bread, they watched Him. And behold, there was a certain man before Him that had the dropsy: and Jesus answering, spoke to the lawyers and Pharisees, saying: Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath day? But they held their peace: but He taking him, healed him, and sent him away. And answering them, He said: Which of you shall have an ass or an ox fall into a pit, and will not immediately draw him out on the Sabbath day? And they could not answer Him to these things. And He spoke a parable also to them that were invited, marking how they chose the first seats at the table, saying to them: When thou art invited to a wedding, sit not down in the first place, lest perhaps one more honourable than thou be invited by him; and he that invited thee and him, come and say to thee: Give this man place: and then thou begin with shame to take the lowest place. But when thou art invited, go, sit down in the lowest place: that when he who invited thee, commeth, he may say to thee: Friend, go up higher. Then shalt thou have glory before them that sit at table with thee: because everyone that exalteth himself, shall be humbled; and he that humbleth himself, shall be exalted.
At the sight of the sick man who stands before him, Jesus is filled with compassion. He cures the affliction even though He knows that there are those who will criticize him for curing on the Sabbath. Jesus acts in a forthright manner. He pays no heed to human respect, to what others will say. His critics consider themselves to be the authentic interpreters of the Law. Later on, the Lord will show them that mercy should be exercised even on the Sabbath. He provides an example gleaned from the common sense of the countryside. We may find obstacles to our faith in the environment around us, such as envy, prejudice and misunderstandings due to ignorance. Our response should be the same as that of Jesus. We should not be afraid to give clear testimony to our beliefs. This type of behaviour can be of great apostolic value. On the other hand, “it is terrible how much harm we can do if we allow ourselves to be carried away by the fear or the shame of being seen as Christians in ordinary life” [St. Josemaría Escrivá, Furrow, 36]. Let us not fail to make manifest our Christian faith, always with humility and naturalness, whenever the situation requires it. We will never regret having acted in a manner so consistent with our deepest beliefs. The Lord will be filled with joy at such evidence of our fidelity.
Commentary from In Conversation With God by Fr. Francis Fernandez-Carvajal.