The Season after Pentecost: Year C, Proper 16

Jesus brings God’s new covenant to the world

  • Jeremiah 1:4-10
  • Psalm 71:1-6
  • Hebrews 12:18-29
  • Luke 13:10-17

Today’s Gospel tells the story of Jesus healing a bent-over, crippled woman on the sabbath. Rather than rejoicing at the blessing received by the woman, the official in the place of worship protests Jesus’s trespass against one traditional understanding of sabbath regulations. Jesus sharply contrasts these rules with the kindness routinely shown to animals, shaming the official and causing all to marvel at his words and deeds. God’s saving activity cannot be bound by narrow legalism. Once again the crowds rejoice as Jesus bests his opponents. 

Often learning has less to do with facts than experience. Eyes less conditioned only by the oughts or the shoulds of life sometimes may see more clearly than those preoccupied with confirming old information. Helen Keller

Just as Jesus called for new understandings about the observation of religious practices, the letter to the Hebrews addresses the differences between the promises of the Old and New Covenants. Christ’s death has inaugurated a whole new world of reconciliation and forgiveness, as opposed to the former world of fear and vengeance.

For reflection:

  • Today is a good day to review the New Covenant found in An Outline of the Faith on p. 850-851 of the Book of Common Prayer.
  • Compare Luke 12:49-53 with 13:101-7. In what ways does Jesus’ healing of the woman bound by Satan for eighteen years create a crisis for those present in the synagogue? What is the new division? Who is free? Who is bound?
  • When is keeping Sabbath most important and when is observing Jubilee important?
  • What new understandings about observing religious practices do you find in this text? How will they affect your own observance of worship and practice as a Christian?
  • What are the modern-day parallels to the story of the bent-over woman in today’s text? What wisdom is required to apply the right biblical principles at the right time?
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About Sharon Ely Pearson

Editor and Christian Formation Specialist for Church Publishing Incorporated
This entry was posted in An Outline of the Faith, Ordinary Time and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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