One of the great problems of Christianity is fundamentalism.
St Augustine’s commentary on today’s Gospel, states that the Pharisees attacked Jesus, because they took the Word of God in a literal way and not in the spiritual way, as it was written. Jesus had cured a woman on a Sunday. They said that you could help an animal on a Sunday but not a human.
Fundamentalism is one of the most dangerous religious attitudes that we see in the world. It leads to violence, abuse of people and can even lead to war between nations. Some people use the word of God to give themselves authority over other people.
- We are blessed by God so that we can bless others
- We need to be touched by God
- The struggle against division and conflict
St Cyril of Alexandra stated that God allows demons to take over people who live in sin and treat their religious life as if it was not important. He added that God plants the seed of life in all of us, but the lack of seriousness towards faith stops us from living in the love and freedom of God.
Like the woman in today’s Gospel, many of us can’t stand straight and are bent to the ground because we refuse to search for help from above and imagine that all we need is fully found within us.
God gives us a holy day, like Sunday, so that we can renew and liberate ourselves. Sunday can be a day of repentance. We must respect Sundays as a Holy day. There is a lot of spiritual work that should be done on a Sunday.
Our faith cannot become a source of a hard heart, whereby we look at the Word of God, to restrict people and make them subject to rules we make up, rather than to the mercy of God.
On this day we can look for freedom from pain, confusion, and spiritual diseases. All of this happens when we learn about the Word of God and the person of Jesus Christ. Sundays are about God, not about us. It is a day to examine not how good we are, but how good God has been to us. Like the woman, we need to stand up straight and develop a relationship with God through all the good people He gives us in our families, and community. The Sunday family meal always is special. Visiting family and friends is a way to keep the seed of life growing within us.
God uses our brokenness to make us stronger and to heal the world we live in. Do not forget that we have a crucified Saviour, who loves us because of his sacrifice.
This Gospel is read each year before Christmas to remind us that Jesus chose to come to us into a troubled world to save us from the evil that we see around ourselves. Jesus with His coming takes on evil directly, and shows us that we are saved by looking to Him as we see it in the Word of God.
This is the role of the church, the parish, and of each family and individual. We find the strength we need by realizing that of ourselves we do nothing, but everything is possible, if we let God do it.
We pray for a heart that is like the heart of Jesus, always compassionate and ready to support the poor and suffering. Our faith cannot become a source of a hard heart, whereby we look at the Word of God, to restrict people and make them subject to rules we make up, rather than to the mercy of God.