Thursday, October 28, 2010

But They Kept Silent

October 29, 2010
Friday of the Thirtieth Week in Ordinary Time

By Melanie Rigney

And this is my prayer: that your love may increase ever more and more in knowledge and every kind of perception, to discern what is of value, so that you may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ for the glory and praise of God. (Philippians 1:9-11)

How great are the works of the Lord! (Psalms 111:2)

On a sabbath Jesus went to dine at the home of one of the leading Pharisees, and the people there were observing him carefully. In front of him there was a man suffering from dropsy. Jesus spoke to the scholars of the law and Pharisees in reply, asking, “Is it lawful to cure on the sabbath or not?” But they kept silent; so he took the man and, after he had healed him, dismissed him. Then he said to them “Who among you, if your son or ox falls into a cistern, would not immediately pull him out on the sabbath day?” But they were unable to answer his question. (Luke 14:1-6)

Lord, fill me with the Holy Spirit so that I may not keep silent when You ask me questions to which love and compassion and strength in You are the answers.

The answers to Jesus’s questions in today’s Gospel seem so easy to us. Of course we should cure whenever we have the opportunity, Sabbath or no. But the answers likely seemed just as easy for the Pharisees. After all, they were so intent on following the letter of the law that during the persecutions of Antiochus, they refused to defend themselves against an attack because it came on the Sabbath.

Remaining silent often seems the prudent course—when we are so dumbfounded by the question that we see no point in answering; when we don’t know the answer; or, worst of all, when we are ashamed or fearful about the answer we would give. But in those cases, shutting down the potential for dialogue keeps us from sowing seeds and from learning from the knowledge of others.

In today’s first reading, Paul prays that our Christian love grow in knowledge and perception. That can’t happen in a vacuum. Don’t understand why we’re moving to a new translation of the Roman Missal? Ask. Don’t understand why some of the ordained advise people to vote for or against political candidates while others don’t? Ask. Don’t understand where your weekly contributions to your parish go? Ask.

And if the people who should be able to give you the answers remain silent, keep asking.

What is the question Jesus is asking you that you are not answering, from fear or pride or self-righteousness? Through contemplative prayer or sharing with a trusted friend or family member, work on finding a way to respond.