Today’s Gospel: John 5:17-30
“My Father is at work until now, so I am at work.”
My father, too, worked on the Sabbath, and that worried me a lot. True, Schoonover’s market was closed Sundays, but right after church, Dad changed into his overalls to begin a long day of lawn-mowing, house-painting, or mending whatever needed fixing. I asked my mother if dad was sinning by doing manual labor on the Lord’s Day, but she assured me he was not. Even so, my young mind had doubts.
The Pharisees had been lying in wait for Jesus to do something bad enough for them to condemn him. It infuriated them how this piddling little carpenter’s son from Nazareth could make the lame walk and the blind see, when all they could do was strut around in their fringes and phylacteries and accuse people of taking too many steps. Finally, they had something they thought they could hang their head coverings on. Jesus worked on the Sabbath! They longed to get rid of Jesus so badly, they totally missed the big picture. A crippled man picked up his mat and walked! Jesus spit in the mud and a blind man saw! No, all they said was that it was the Sabbath and rules were rules.
In today’s Gospel reading, Jesus seems to defend His behavior to the Jews: “The Son cannot do anything on his own, but only what he sees the Father doing; for what he does, the Son will do also.” Was Jesus telling us there’s more to His Father’s work than just making up rules to follow? That maybe there were times when rules were not as important as helping people? Or maybe He meant, “Don’t let your religion get in the way of loving each other.”
Do we sometimes nitpick one another over rules and forget the big picture? Are we so caught up in doing the right thing that we forget to do what God our Father does? That is, He loves us as a father loves his children, unconditionally.
Dear Jesus, help me to keep my priorities straight, even if it means going against the “rules” of today’s society. Help me to carry out Your Father’s work; that is, help me to love, unconditionally.
Copyright 2018 Jean Schoonover-Egolf
Jean Schoonover-Egolf is a retired physician-turned-homeschooling mom/author/artist and the creator of the award-winning Molly McBride books (Gracewatch Media.) A member of the Catholic Writers’ Guild and the Catholic Illustrators’ Guild, Dr. Egolf blogs about Molly et al. over at www.mollymcbrideandthepurplehabit.com.
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