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A woman, crippled for 18 years, still went to the synagogue on the Sabbath.

This Gospel differs from others — Often someone is in need of healing and they call out to Jesus for that healing.  But in this reading we have Jesus seeking out the woman instead of the woman seeking him out.

“When Jesus saw her, he called to her.”

Jesus spoke to her, but he also laid his hands on her to bring her healing. Words of love, coupled with a loving touch brought her healing.

Her response was to glorify God — and rightly so!

And while Jesus was the one who saw her and called to her in that moment — her actions though demonstrate that she was also seeking him. For she was in the synagogue — she went to God and in turn God came to her.

She is anonymous in this story, and her name isn’t what matters — it is her actions that matter as it is also Jesus’ actions that matter. She is a woman who was “crippled for 18 years” so presumably she is older than 18 years old and was born non-crippled. Despite her literal crippling experience she persisted in faith.

She was in the synagogue praying and Jesus came to her. She may not have ever heard of Jesus before she heard him preaching — yet God sees us where we are. He knows us. And he loves us and is merciful and wants to bring us the love and mercy that he planned for us since the beginning. She was steadfast in faith despite having become a cripple — and she persisted for 18 years perhaps praying for physical healing — and because she was steadfast, because she kept the Sabbath, she encountered Jesus who in turn encountered her.

Another fact is the woman was bent over – so presumably she was staring at the ground and it would have been challenging (if not impossible) to look up to see who was preaching. She longed to see the face of God, and Jesus revealed himself to her.

But Jesus didn’t just reveal himself to her – he revealed himself to everyone who as at the synagogue. And yet the Gospel only states that the woman stood up straight and glorified God. We do come to find that eventually “the whole crowd rejoiced at all the splendid deeds done by him” – but it appears that they focused on him (Jesus) instead of glorfying God. [Unless I just misunderstand what that part means…] Jesus is God and Jesus points us to God. And while we need Jesus and should definitely rejoice in Him, we need to remember to also glorify God the Father.

…That as a lot… and maybe covering several (partial) ideas… But what stood out first and foremost to me was “Jesus saw her, he called to her” — How comforting to know that when we are in need he seeks us out and calls to us — and is ready to offer us healing.

 

Jesus was teaching in a synagogue on the sabbath.
And a woman was there who for eighteen years
had been crippled by a spirit;
she was bent over, completely incapable of standing erect.
When Jesus saw her, he called to her and said,
“Woman, you are set free of your infirmity.”
He laid his hands on her,
and she at once stood up straight and glorified God.
But the leader of the synagogue,
indignant that Jesus had cured on the sabbath,
said to the crowd in reply,
“There are six days when work should be done.
Come on those days to be cured, not on the sabbath day.”
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.

-Luke 13: 10-17

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