Today's Gospel features another Sabbath day healing, and clearly points to Jesus' Achilles heal. But first, a question. According to the eminent translators of the NAB, the person in front of Jesus (at the home of a leading Pharisee) suffered from "dropsy."
What on earth is dropsy? That question has been bothering me for years! Today, finally, I have an answer, and what a timely answer it is. Dropsy is "edema," which my Dad is suffering from at this moment. And that leads to my theme: Jesus' weak spot.
People who tried to trip Jesus up in any way through questions or challenges were bound to fail. He brought such an unusual, straight-to-the-heart-of-it perspective to any verbal test that those who posed the questions ended up as befuddled as they had hoped Jesus would be. So it was no good to try to trick Jesus intellectually. The one sure way to get him was to bring him face to face with suffering. And we find several places in the Gospel where sick or crippled people were used as decoys to lure Jesus into "inappropriate" or "illegal" healing on the Sabbath day. This Gospel story is one of those times. Jesus had been invited to dinner at a socially prominent, highly observant person's home on the Sabbath.
Sometimes Jesus used these occasions for some provocative behavior of his own, such as skipping the ritual hand-washing in order to make a point about purity of heart. But today, the host had evidently participated in a setup. Jesus went into the home, and "in front of him there was a man suffering with edema." (Like my Dad, whom I present again to Jesus in just as brazen a setup.) There was no way Jesus was going to smile and nod at the poor man and then go eat dinner, and everyone in the house knew it. You can only imagine how charged the atmosphere was. But before healing the man, Jesus turned the tables on them all with a setup of his own: "Is it lawful to cure on the Sabbath or not?"
So Jesus healed the man, sent him off, and then added the piece de resistance: "Who among you, if your son or ox falls into a cistern, would not immediately pull him out on the Sabbath?"
Please, today, bring my Dad before Jesus and ask him to renew the wonders of his love as manifested in today's Gospel.