By Oswald Sobrino, J.D.; M.A. (Econ.); M.A. (Theo.); M.L. (Master of Latin), doctoral student, University of Florida.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Crowd Enjoyed It

The Gospel reading from last Monday (Luke 13:10-17) ends with a line that always brings a smile to my heart:

The Lord said to him in reply, “Hypocrites!
Does not each one of you on the sabbath
untie his ox or his ass from the manger
and lead it out for watering?
This daughter of Abraham,
whom Satan has bound for eighteen years now,
ought she not to have been set free on the sabbath day
from this bondage?”

When he said this, all his adversaries were humiliated;
and the whole crowd rejoiced at all the splendid deeds done by him.

NAB Bible (lectionary reading quoted in part; emphasis added).

1. The reaction of the crowd is not the somber one of too many of today's devout: when they heard God, they rejoiced. We hear God today at every Mass when we hear the readings. Why should we not rejoice? Shouldn't we rejoice?

2. "All his adversaries were humiliated." Even God had to pay a price for humbling the arrogant. I recall a list of sayings that proposed a series of good but risky or costly actions and then commented: "Do it anyway" (or words to that effect). Many splendid things we just have to do anyway, even when we know that there will be a price to pay. Free people do that.

The last line of the quoted reading captures, for me, what must have been the ambience and atmosphere around Jesus: it was exciting, splendid, wonderful. Don't forget that the same experience is still at the heart of authentic Christianity. If you have not experienced it, keep looking. There is more beyond what our mediocrity assumes is enough or possible or permissible.