October 25, 2021
by Eileen Wirth
Creighton University's Retired Chair of the Department of Journalism, Media and Computing
click here for photo and information about the writer

Monday of the Thirtieth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 479

Romans 8:12-17
Psalm 68:2 and 4, 6-7ab, 20-21
Luke 13:10-17

Praying Ordinary Time

“There are six days when work should be done.
Come on those days to be cured, not on the sabbath day.”
- Luke

A student who had been struggling to stay sober told me after a summer school night class that he BADLY needed immediate help to keep from drinking. Could I aid him?

Unfortunately, I had to get home to my two young children so I couldn’t stay.  The Counseling Center was closed and this wasn’t a Public Safety matter.

So I called my friend, the late Fr. Dick Hauser S.J., one of our kindest and wisest Jesuits, who knew how to handle such situations from his years as a dorm and fraternity chaplain.

Like other members of the Jesuit community, he lived on campus and readily responded to this inconvenient need for help – just like Jesus in today’s gospel.

While I wasn’t asking Dick to violate the law, as Jesus did in curing the woman on the sabbath, I was asking him to spend hours helping a student he didn’t know when he must have been exhausted from running a summer program. He got the student through the crisis because like most Jesuits I know, he was a “man for others” 24-7.  That’s why they call it the Society of JESUS.

Years later the student, now a successful professional, wrote to tell me how much Creighton’s care for him meant.

This incident illustrates the most important lesson Jesus teaches in today’s gospel—the need to prioritize the needs of people over laws, structures, and our own convenience.

As an old farm girl, I love the way Jesus makes his critics look like fools by asking if they cared for animals on the Sabbath. It reminded me of my dad saying that no matter what happened, you had to feed the cows.

This reading also forced me to examine my conscience about the times I have failed to meet the needs of others because of something I considered more pressing, sometimes legitimate, sometimes less so.

But I think Jesus understands. He is compassionate as we struggle to lead our messy lives, responding to various needs and pressures. Just don’t tell him you only help during office hours!

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