A DAILY RESPITE
“Now he was teaching in one of the synagogues on the sabbath. And there was a woman who had had a spirit of infirmity for eighteen years; she was bent over and could not fully straighten herself. And when Jesus saw her, he called her and said to her, ‘Woman, you are freed/untied (ἀπολέλυσαι) from your infirmity.’ And he laid his hands upon her, and immediately she was made straight, and she praised God. But the ruler of the synagogue, indignant because Jesus had healed on the sabbath, said to the people, ‘There are six days on which work ought to be done; come on those days and be healed, and not on the sabbath day.’ Then the Lord answered him, ‘You hypocrites! Does not each of you on the sabbath untie/loose (λύει) his ox or his donkey from the manger, and lead it away to water it? And ought not this woman, a daughter of Abraham whom Satan bound for eighteen years, be untied/loosed (λυθῆναι) from this bond on the sabbath day?’ As he said this, all his adversaries were put to shame; and all the people rejoiced at all the glorious things that were done by him.” (Lk 13: 10-17)
Christ compares His healing of this woman with the untying or “loosing” of domesticated animals, in order to bring them to water. This is something that needs to be done daily, Sabbath or not, because animals need to drink water every day. Similarly, God’s salvific, liberating work for us never stops, regardless of the day of the week, because otherwise we would die. “My Father is at his work to this very day,” Jesus reveals to us in a different passage, (lest we thought that God “rested” in a literal sense after creating the world), “and I too am working” (Jn 5: 17).
Christ, the fulfillment of the Sabbath, brings me His kind of “rest,” and His kind of “loosening/untying” of my bonds and relief of my burdens, – not only on a certain day of the week, but every day. In Him, I am offered a “sabbatical” way of life on a daily basis, and receive true relief from carrying the burdens of the whole world on my own shoulders. So let me surrender a bit more today, and respond to His call: “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Mt 11: 28)