Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Healing on the Sabbath, Oh No, Oh No! (Stop That Fellow, Someone!)

Today's gospel reading is John 5: 1-16.  We have Jesus encountering a man with serious mobility problems; Jesus cures him.  The man has been ill for thirty-eight years (have to love the preciseness of that number, yes?).  All those years, the man has not been able to make it into the healing waters in a timely manner.  (Sucks to be him, say those who pass by him each day.)  And then -- suddenly, almost impulsively, you might say -- Jesus heals the man.  Completely.  Fully.  With great unrestrained love.

But alas, Jesus has made a mistake, say the religious authorities.  He has healed on the sabbath!  Clearly that is not permitted.  See?  We have it right here in our holy book of codes and regulations, nicely cross-referenced and indexed.  Excellent table of contents.  Cool blurbs and everything on the back cover.  (Watch out!  It's a heavy object!  At least that's the case with a full-sized Catechism of the Catholic Church in the modern age.  If you have it on your Kindle instead, well, not so bad -- but it will still kill your Kindle if you throw it at someone, so please refrain from doing so.)

Mighty fine explanation in today's gospel for why faith in God is not chiefly about rule books.  Not about canon law.  Not about canon lawyers.  Not about quoting chapter and verse as though we can put God to use defending our human notions, particularly the most convoluted ones.  (Those are the ones that the radio hosts go to town with on programs such as Catholic Answers Live on your local reactionary, Republican-loving Catholic right wing station.  Here's a fast ball, folks!  Let's see how hard our apologist can hit it!)

For lent (and maybe for the other forty-six weeks of the year as well), go ahead and forget the legalistic version of Christianity.  Christ came to earth to love, heal, complete, save, embrace, and call each of us into true relationship with God.  Indeed, he was not one to carry around a rule book.  Let us resist with all our might the urge to put one in his hands, lest we miss the real reasons he came to earth and chose to live among women and men -- and yes, chose to die for us too.

1 comment:

Altar Ego said...

I recommend that you read “Love Wins” - by Rob Bell - not a declared Roman Catholic - but he definitely writes like an ancient Christian!!!

Thanks for being Ambivalent about Catholicism - I thought I was the only one, or at least, in the minority.