Jesus heals a man with deadly dropsy on the Sabbath and confronts the Pharisees. Every Catholic man can grow in happiness by building the Virtue of Truth so he can love and live in the Truth of Jesus Christ and by pursuing the Virtue of Meekness so he can face evil with love, truth, meekness and fortitude. 

Liturgy

30th Week in Ordinary time – Friday – Lk 14:1-6

Commentary

After rebuking the Pharisees who try to manipulate Him into fleeing, Jesus accepts an invitation for a Sabbath feast, knowing the Pharisees will try to catch Him in some error. Jesus cannot be fooled: the Pharisees, with lawyers present as witnesses, “plant” a man with dropsy (today, called edema), a terrible illness that causes the torso and limbs to enlarge with fluid, causing pain and difficulty in breathing. The Pharisees’ believed the man’s dropsy was caused by his sinfulness and that they had a no-lose trap set: if Jesus heals the sinful man on the Sabbath, it is unlawful and they can accuse Him; if Jesus does not heal the man, they can say Jesus doesn’t have the power to heal. 

Immediately going on the offensive, Jesus begins by provocatively asking the Pharisees and lawyers if it is lawful to heal on the Sabbath. When the Pharisees refuse to answer, Jesus takes the man with dropsy, and, without saying a word, lays His hands on him, miraculously cures him, and sets him free from his severe illness. 

Knowing the Pharisees and lawyers may try to twist His act of charity to condemn Him, Jesus counter-attacks with a question linked to Scripture (Deut 22:4) that exposes their shabby thinking and hypocrisy.  Jesus challenges His adversaries with a direct question: “Which of you, having an ass (other ancient manuscripts say, “son”) or an ox that has fallen into a well, will not immediately pull him out on a sabbath day?” Knowing their trap has failed, the Pharisees, unable to respond without admitting defeat, remain silent. 

Be awed by Jesus Christ

Be astounded that Jesus has the supernatural ability to instantaneously cure dropsy: Divine Knowledge, Jesus both diagnoses and understands how to cure the man with dropsy (excessive fluid build up), a serious medical condition that was incurable at the time; Divine Power, Jesus has the ability to modify the man’s body so it eliminates the root cause of dropsy, but also to mysteriously make the crippling excess fluids disappear from the man’s body (supernatural control to make matter disappear; in this case, the opposite of making matter appear in the multiplication of the loaves/fishes). 

Love and live by the Truth of Christ

Realize: Like the Pharisees’ and scribes’ offenses against truth (plotting in secret, seeking to destroy Jesus’ reputation, setting traps), many today do the work of Satan, the “father of lies”: false gossip, telling half-truths or lies about someone, schemes to cheat, sneaky anonymous attacks to destroy a man’s reputation, etc. 

Believe: Review the Offenses against Truth in The 8th Commandment (CCC 2475-2487, 2504-2508).

Pray: Jesus, Divine Truth, help me build the Virtue of Truth (a part of Justice) so I reject telling lies to deceive others, I accept and always keep The 8th Commandment, and I always seek God’s guidance so I can prudently tell the truth.

Face evil with love, truth, meekness and fortitude

Realize: Men often become enraged and vengeful when unjustly persecuted by other evil men, in contrast to Jesus Christ, the Perfect Man, who responded with meekness when He was unjustly persecuted by evil men; every Catholic man must imitate Jesus by turning away from unrighteous anger and cultivating meekness, while remaining courageous and resistant in the face of injustice.

Believe: Reflect upon Meekness in Persecution (CCC 530, 675, 1435, 1716, 2303).

Pray: Jesus, Perfection of Meekness, help me build the Virtue of Meekness (a part of Temperance) so I practice meekness in daily life, I reject wrath and unrighteous anger, and I respond with love, truth, meekness, and fortitude when unjustly attacked.