Read today’s gospel. For our meditation today, we will need plenty of imagination. What I mean by that is that we will need to imagine we are in the synagogue that the evangelist, Luke, depicts for us in this brief section of chapter 13 of his gospel. Enter the scene being described. How fortunate we are; it is Jesus himself who is preaching on this Sabbath day. But it is not his words that catch our attention. It is his gaze towards the woman, “bent over, completely unable to stand upright.” She was there when we entered. We (I) noticed but never paid her much attention. “When Jesus saw her, he called to her,” Jesus noticed and acknowledged her presence. But not just her presence, Jesus understood her situation. Let us stay with this image for a bit.
Jesus extended his hands upon her, saying: “Woman, you are set free of your infirmity.” Immediately, she stood up and glorified God. Obviously, this was not good enough for the “leader of the synagogue”! What does the law say about this day? What can and cannot be done? Let’s reflect on this for a moment.
Who do I identify with? The spectators in the synagogue? The crippled lady (physically, psychologically, spiritually)? The leader of the synagogue (I know the rules, customs, and behaviors)?
Perhaps we (I) would prefer to meditate on the woman in the synagogue –crippled for eighteen years! Assuming she is an older woman, what else do we avoid recognizing? Her wrinkles (well-earned), thinning or white hair, inability to look up, shaking or callused hands? Like this woman, all that is left to do or needs to be done in today’s meditation is to Glorify God.
Blessed day by day be the Lord, who bears our burdens; God, who is our salvation. God is a saving God for us; the Lord, my Lord, controls the passageways of death. (Psalm 68:20-21)