JESUS HEALS BECAUSE HE LOVES
Although writing from prison, Paul’s letter to the Philippians, which begins today, overflows with warmth and joy. The Christians of Philippi are a good community. Yet Paul prays that, by the grace of God, their love may continue to grow toward the perfect goodness found in Christ.
Something of what this goodness means is shown in practice. When eating at the house of a prominent man on a Sabbath, Jesus cures there someone who suffers, even on a Sabbath. Love is the reason and inspiration of the Christian Law. Is it in our lives, in our Christian community?
God of all grace and peace,
you have chosen us to be
your kingdom of peace and love.
But we have to acknowledge with shame
that there is still much room for growth.
Make our love richer, more sensitive,
complete the work you have begun in us,
that we may have a permanent place in your heart
and reflect the perfect goodness
of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen!
1 Reading: Philippians 1:1-11
Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, to all God’s holy people in Christ Jesus at Philippi, together with the overseers and deacons: Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart and, whether I am in chains or defending and confirming the gospel, all of you share in God’s grace with me. God can testify how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus. And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.
Responsorial Psalm 111:1-2, 3-4, 5-6
R. How great are the works of the Lord!
I will extol the Lord with all my heart
in the council of the upright and in the assembly.
Great are the works of the Lord;
they are pondered by all who delight in them. R.
Glorious and majestic are his deeds,
and his righteousness endures forever.
He has caused his wonders to be remembered;
the Lord is gracious and compassionate. R.
He provides food for those who fear him;
he remembers his covenant forever.
He has shown his people the power of his works,
giving them the lands of other nations. R.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Shine on the world like bright stars;
You are offering it the word of life.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel: Luke 14:1-6
One Sabbath, when Jesus went to eat in the house of a prominent Pharisee, he was being carefully watched. There in front of him was a man suffering from abnormal swelling of his body. Jesus asked the Pharisees and experts in the law, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath or not?” But they remained silent. So taking hold of the man, he healed him and sent him on his way. Then he asked them, “If one of you has a child or an ox that falls into a well on the Sabbath day, will you not immediately pull it out?” And they had nothing to say.
Today we begin our readings from Paul’s letter to the people of Philippi, a community very close to his heart. In his introduction, he gives thanks to God for them. It is a friendship rooted in faith. Paul sees the Philippians as partners of the gospel, sharers with him of the message of salvation. He prays the prayer said over the ordained today – that the work begun in them will continue to grow until the day of the Lord. These Christians are with him partners, whether in his present imprisonment or in defense of the gospel. Paul prays as well that they will continue to grow in their knowledge and understanding of the message, that they may grow in the Spirit, that they may present themselves pure and blameless for the day of Christ.
The onlookers in today’s Gospel are silent in the face of Jesus’ compassion. They do not answer the question he poses. Animosity finds speech difficult, whereas love is multifaceted in its expression. In speaking of his love for the Philippians, Paul gives different reasons and takes different approaches. Peace and harmony are signs of Christian love.
– That the Church for which Christ died may grow into a large community of love, which makes God’s unconditional love visible to all people far and near, we pray:
– That in our Christian families Christ may be the bond between husbands and wives, between parents and children and that the young may grow up in an atmosphere of security, love and generosity, we pray:
– That those who are happy and healthy and surrounded by friends may, like Christ, lift up those who are tired and lonely, those humiliated and wounded in life, we pray:
Prayer over the Gifts
Lord our God
you set the table of your Son
not merely for a select few
but for all, for the sick and the suffering,
for the weak and the lonely.
Let Jesus’ love, his acceptance of people,
his spirit of sharing be ours
in all our Christian communities.
Teach us to set the table of ourselves,
as Jesus did, your Son,
who lives with you and stays with us
now and for ever. Amen!
Prayer after Communion
Our God and Father,
we thank you for uniting us
in this Eucharistic celebration
at the table of your Son.
By the strength of Jesus
let the Christian community be
to us who belong to the Church
and to all people
what you are to us:
love and peace and joy, and a gift –
a gift freely given and never regretted.
We ask you this through Christ our Lord. Amen!
Heal the sick. We too can do this. How often do you visit a sick relative, another sick person? Sunday would be a good day for it. We bring healing to the sick also by our visit, by encouraging words. May almighty God bless you, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen!