30TH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME
You are set free of your infirmity.
Both today’s Gospel(Luke 13:10-17) and the first reading from Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians reveal something that God deeply desires for us: our freedom. Through Jesus, our Father has set us free, and he wants us to live in the freedom that Christ has already won for us.
In the Gospel passage, Jesus is confronted by people who believe that it is an offense against God to heal a woman on the Sabbath. We can still hear the righteous anger in Jesus’ voice at the way this thinking inverts the will of God. Jesus knew that God’s law was never intended to bind us up. It was meant to provide boundaries that allow our freedom to flourish. Jesus saw the work of Satan behind the woman’s infirmity. He also saw her as a daughter of Abraham, not a nuisance interrupting his sabbath rest. So he released her from her bondage. In doing so, Jesus reveals his desire for her, and for all of us: “You are set free” (Luke 13:12).
In the first reading, Paul has been instructing the Ephesians on what a healthy Christian community should look like. When he exhorts them to live a moral life, he isn’t scolding them. Instead, he is reminding them of the high calling of the Christian life: “You were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light” (Ephesians 5:8). These Christians had already been set free through Jesus’ death and resurrection, but they weren’t living as if they were really free.
When you were baptized, you were set free from sin and death. No longer a slave to sin, you can live in the freedom of a son or daughter of God.
Like the Ephesians, it can be easy to forget this truth and fail to live like a child of God. This is why Paul’s exhortation is always valuable: remember what Jesus has already done in your life. This is not just a matter of willpower, of gritting teeth and pulling up bootstraps. It’s about seeing the face of Jesus turning toward you in whatever “infirmity” you’re facing—and believing him when he says to you, “You are set free.”
“Holy Spirit, help me to live in the freedom of a child of God.”
Psalm 1-4, 6