(Fifth Banquet Lk 14: 1 – 24)
“I am the Lord your God, who teaches you for your own good, who leads you in the way you should go. (Is 48: 17) “I call heaven and earth today to witness .. I have set before you life and death .. Choose life.” (Deut 30: 19)
Luke takes up this theme in the verses leading up to his “Banquet of Life.” “I have come to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it were already blazing.” (12: 49) “Why do you not judge for yourselves what is right?” (12: 57) Look at who is teaching you. “Bear fruit – Set others free” (13: 9, 16) The kingdom of heaven is like “A mustard seed, the word, planted in the garden of our hearts.” (13: 19) We become the large bush where all are welcome. “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast mixed with three measures of wheat, us. The whole batch, us, is leavened.” Each time we choose life we come to resemble our God just a little more.
1 On one occasion when Jesus was going to the house of a leader of the Pharisees to eat a meal on the Sabbath, they were watching him closely. 2 Just then, in front of him, there was a man (humanity) who had dropsy. 3 And Jesus asked the lawyers and Pharisees, “Is it lawful to cure people on the Sabbath, or not?” 4 But they were silent. So Jesus took him and healed him, and sent him away. 5 Then he said to them, “If one of you has a child or an ox that has fallen into a well, will you not immediately pull it out on a Sabbath day?” 6 And they could not reply to this.
The host at this banquet is a Leader of the Pharisees. Perhaps he is a member of the Sanhedran. Tensions are running at an all-time high. It is the Sabbath and there is a man with Oedema (excess water gathers in body tissues causing swelling and pain). In those days it was associated with venereal disease. Will Jesus heal this outcast sinner? Eight chapters earlier the Pharisees pulled the same stunt, planting the man with the withered hand. Once again Jesus takes up the challenge by healing on the Sabbath. “Is it lawful to cure people on the Sabbath, or not?”
In this passage we find God, who gave us the gift of the Sabbath, present. This is a caring God, concerned for wounded humanity, the children and even the animals.
For us: Are we going to choose life or death, silently rejecting our God’s invitation to change. How skewed are our values?
46 And he said, “Woe also to you lawyers! For you load people with burdens hard to bear, and you yourselves do not lift a finger to ease them. (11: 46)