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Catholic Daily Liturgical Guide 30.10.2023

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Catholic Daily Liturgical Guide 30.10.2023

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ROMANS 8: 12 – 17

Brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh — for if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the spirit of sonship. When we cry, “Abba! Father!” it is the Spirit himself bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.

The Word of the Lord.

RESPONSORIAL PSALM
Psalm 68: 2 and 4, 6 – 7ab, 20 – 21 (R.) 21a.

R/. This God of ours is a God who saves.

Let God arise; let his foes be scattered.
Let those who hate him flee from his face.
But the just shall rejoice at the presence of God;
they shall exult with glad rejoicing. R/.

Father of orphans, defender of widows:
such is God in his holy place.
God gives the desolate a home to dwell in;
He leads the prisoners forth into prosperity. R/.

Day after day, may the Lord be blest.
He bears our burdens; God is our saviour.
This God of ours is a God who saves.
The Lord our Lord provides an escape from death. R/.

GOSPEL ACCLAMATION
John 17: 17ba.

Alleluia.
Your word, O Lord, is truth; sanctify us in the truth.
Alleluia.

GOSPEL
Ought not this daughter of Abraham be loosed from this bond on the sabbath day?
LUKE 13: 10 – 17

At that time: Jesus 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 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 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 loosed 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.

The Gospel of the Lord.

GOSPEL REFLECTION: The Burden of Scrupulosity
October 30, 2023

But the leader of the synagogue, indignant that Jesus had cured on the sabbath, said to the crowd in reply, “There are six days when work should be done. Come on those days to be cured, not on the sabbath day.” The Lord said to him in reply, “Hypocrites! Does not each one of you on the sabbath untie his ox or his ass from the manger and lead it out for watering?” (Luke 13:14–15)

Why would the leader of the synagogue be “indignant” that Jesus cured a woman on the sabbath? She was crippled for eighteen years! Imagine, especially, her family. They would have seen her many years of suffering and shared them with her through years of compassion. If they were present when Jesus healed her on the sabbath, would they have immediately thought, “How dare Jesus do this healing of our mother, wife or sister on the sabbath?” Of course not! They would have rejoiced and been filled with awe, gratitude, and even tears. This normal reaction that her family would have had upon witnessing this miracle is the right response. And, of course, the reaction of the leader of the synagogue was deeply disordered.

Why would this leader of the synagogue do such a thing? Though he and many other scribes, Sadducess, Pharisees and scholars of the law struggled with envy and hypocrisy, others may sometimes react similarly to this leader of the synagogue for other reasons. One such reason is scrupulosity.

Scrupulosity is the tendency to see God and His holy will through the lens of legalism. “Legalism” is not just being faithful to the Law of God, because that is a good thing. Legalism is a misinterpretation of God’s Law by which one tends to put more emphasis upon themselves than upon God. A scrupulous person is preoccupied with themself. They tend to be far more concerned with sin than with God Himself. And though it’s vital to be concerned with sin, when fear of sinning becomes a form of obsession, then that obsession has the effect of clouding the pure will of God and leaves a person heavily burdened and unable to joyfully live out the authentic will of God.

Saint Thérèse of Lisieux was one saint who openly shared her struggles with scrupulosity in her autobiography. Of this struggle, which she referred to as “oversensitivity,” she said, “One would have to pass through this martyrdom to understand it well, and for me to express what I experienced for a year and a half would be impossible.” However, she eventually experienced what she called a “complete conversion” by which the heavy burden of oversensitivity was lifted. Though this oversensitivity oppressed her in various ways, one way it affected her was that she feared that even some of her random thoughts were mortal sins and that she would be condemned for them.

Though the leader of the synagogue was most likely not struggling with “oversensitivity” in the same way as Saint Thérèse, he was acting with an extreme scrupulosity which led him to be harshly judgmental and condemning of our Lord for His good deed done to this crippled woman.

Reflect, today, upon any tendency you may have with these heavy burdens. Do you worry in an irrational way about sin? Do you ever find yourself obsessing over decisions, worrying that you may make the wrong one? Do you think about yourself far more than you think about God and others? If so, you may also be carrying a similar heavy burden that our Lord wants to lift. Serving God and His holy will must become the deepest joy of our lives, not a heavy burden. If you find your Christian walk more of a burden, then turn your eyes away from yourself and look to the merciful God. Run to Him with the utmost confidence of a child, as Saint Thérèse eventually did, and allow yourself to love Him more authentically, freed of scrupulous and self-imposed burdens.

PRAYER:
My merciful Lord, You desire to free me from all that burdens me. You desire that I turn to You with the confidence of a child. Please do free me, dear Lord, from any way that I impose burdens upon myself by my obsessions and irrational worries. May I always understand Your infinite love for me and always walk freely and joyfully in Your ways. Jesus, I trust in You.

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