Today’s reflection may be a stretch, but stay with me. I want to make a connection between the first reading and the Gospel reading, something we can do most every day. In the first reading from Ephesians 4 and 5, St. Paul writes, “Let no one deceive you with empty arguments, for because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the disobedient.”
The Gospel reading today from Luke 13 is the story of Jesus being chastised for healing a crippled woman on the sabbath; this was considered “work,” so was against the law. Jesus says, “Hypocrites! Does not each of you on the sabbath untie his ox or his ass from the manger and lead it out for watering? Ought [this woman] not to have been set free on the sabbath day from this bondage?”
In other words, these folks were perfectly willing to treat their animals humanely, but wouldn’t have compassion on a human being. Does that sound familiar? It should. We live in a culture where if you mistreat an animal in any way, you’re toast. Yet we have no problem with slaughtering the child in the womb. Look, I’m an animal lover. I’ve had critters all my life. But to have them take precedent over human beings is ridiculous. Read again the quote from Ephesians above. So many have fallen for this “empty argument.” They need our prayers for a change of heart, lest the wrath of God come down on us all.
Father, teach us to put people first, from the moment of conception until natural death. May a spirit of repentance come upon this people, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.