Monday of the Thirtieth Week in Ordinary Time

Jesus’ healing in today’s Gospel sends a powerful message about authentic religion.  Religion is all about being connected in a life-giving way to God.  Because of our innate desire for security and control, we have a tendency to rely on structures, rules and formalities even though they eventually depersonalize and ossify human life.  The woman hunched over, forced to look at the ground by the oppression of evil resembles an animal more than a human being.  Her religion ought to be liberating her to connect with her God, but the leaders of that religion have a fixation on a very narrow interpretation of God’s revelation that serves only to reinforce her slavery.  Human freedom is only really free when it loves.  Love is the only truly life-giving power of our spirit, and we can only give and receive that life by loving and being loved by something whose essential goodness exceeds our own.

Religion that is mostly focused on truth and perfection according to established norms and practices is a human construction designed to create a sense of security and control.  Religion’s priority must always be love, mercy, healing, and liberation: in this way, God is truly glorified and made known to men.  Truth must always remain the servant of love, lest it become the banner of hypocrites and slave-drivers.


The name, the mind and the conscience of the saints demand that the tongue itself should be an agent of holiness. If a person who is holy in his ways speaks unnecessarily of abominable behaviors, he may harbor sin. Even speaking of them may show how well acquainted he is with vices better left unspoken.1


Even one who is in fact free of fornication is not holy if he remains mentally preoccupied with some uncleanness or with the avaricious pursuit of the pleasures that have once delighted him.2

Note that levity follows silly talk. The intent here is to speak of frivolous and inappropriate stories. The difference between silliness and levity is this: silliness has nothing in it that is wise or worthy of the human heart. Levity devolves from a clever mind and deliberately seeks out certain words, be they witty, vulgar, obscene or facetious, in a jocularity the sole aim of which is to get a laugh.3


To teach us that covetousness is such a dangerous thing, he calls it idolatry, no sin being greater than this. But why is covetousness called idolatry? Idolatry usurps the honor of God and claims it for the creature. The holy name of God, which belongs solely to the Creator, is thereby applied to creatures. Covetousness is viewed on a level with idolatry because the covetous person similarly usurps for himself what belongs to God and hides them away. Covetousness withholds the resources offered by God for the common use of all. It hoards them to itself so that others may not use them.4


The darkness is being turned into light. There is not, as some heretics argue, a nature so alienated that it cannot receive salvation.… Those who receive salvation—the righteous—are “the light of the world.” Those who refuse, the unrighteous, are in consequence called darkness.… The difference and distance between one and the other is clearly seen by their own fruits.5


By what happened to her, we may see that Satan often receives authority over certain persons who fall into sin and have grown lax in their efforts toward piety. Whomever he gets into his power, he may involve in bodily diseases since he delights in punishment and is merciless.… The accursed Satan is the cause of disease to the human bodies, just we affirm that Adam’s transgression was his doing, and by means of it our bodily frames have become liable to infirmity and decay.6


In fact, her soul was bent over. It inclined to earthly rewards and did not possess heavenly grace. Jesus saw her and addressed her. She immediately laid aside her earthly burdens. These people also were burdened with lusts. He addressed them in these words, “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest.” The soul of that woman breathed once more and stood up like a vine around which the soil has been dug and cleared. 7



  1. EPISTLE TO THE EPHESIANS 2.5.3.  Edwards, M. J. (Ed.). (1999). Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians (p. 183). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
  2. EPISTLE TO THE EPHESIANS 3.5.3–4.  Edwards, M. J. (Ed.). (1999). Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians (p. 184). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
  3. EPISTLE TO THE EPHESIANS 3.5.3–4.  Edwards, M. J. (Ed.). (1999). Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians (p. 184). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
  4. EPISTLE TO THE EPHESIANS 5.5.1.  Edwards, M. J. (Ed.). (1999). Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians (p. 185). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
  5. EPISTLE TO THE EPHESIANS 3.5.8.  Edwards, M. J. (Ed.). (1999). Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians (p. 187). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
  6. COMMENTARY ON LUKE, HOMILY 96.  Just, A. A. (Ed.). (2005). Luke (p. 225). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
  7. SIX DAYS OF CREATION 3.50.  Just, A. A. (Ed.). (2005). Luke (p. 225). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
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