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Thirtieth Week in Ordinary Time

Phil. 1:1-11 & Lk. 14:1-6

One of the things that impressed Saint Paul the most about the church at Philippi was their enthusiasm for the Gospel. Even though many of the Philippian Christians were converts from paganism they had fully dedicated themselves to the service of the church. Moreover, they had not squandered months, and certainly not years, before they finally decided to get serious about their faith. They had involved themselves from the outset in the church's outreach to the poor, its care for the needy, its effort to evangelize the lost, its spread of the Gospel. They had no notion that the work of the church was the job of the clergy. They were the frontline soldiers in the battle for spreading the Good News. No wonder Paul complimented them for the way they all helped to spread the Good News from the very first day they had heard it!

There is nothing any more refreshing than to see a person get right to work on the job they have agreed to tackle. People don't often work that way, even if they are willing volunteers. They agree to help but it seems to take so long to get things organised before they actually start. How true is that old saying about the road to Hell being paved with good intentions!

Luke, the doctor, uses the technical term "dropsy” to diagnose the disease of the man who was cured by Jesus in today's Gospel reading. We are told that this cure was performed while Jesus was having a meal at the home of a leading Pharisee.

Considering all the opposition that Jesus gave the Pharisees, we can wonder why He was asked to a meal. The circumstances suggest a set-up to find some way to accuse Jesus of something. Why was the suffering man seated directly in front of Him? Why was it a Sabbath day and why were other Pharisees and lawyers present? Having cured the man, Jesus sent him away, perhaps to avoid him being involved in the ill-feeling which was to follow. Then Jesus asked them if one of their sons, or their ox, fell into a well on the Sabbath would they not do all they could to pull them out? Without any hesitation, of course, they would! Then why complain when on a Sabbath day He cures a man who is ill? They could give Jesus no answer. Their silence highlighted their hypocrisy. Yes, Sunday is a day of rest, but that should not stop us from doing good when we can.

Lord Jesus, may we carry through our good intentions. Preserve us from all hypocrisy.

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