Yes, people should keep the Sabbath holy. Yes, people should get a day off. But people should also do what’s right, and that doesn’t always involve just following the rules. In the first reading, we are told that we are not to live by the flesh, but by God. We are about following God’s rules, not necessarily man’s laws. And yes, keeping the Sabbath holy is one of God’s laws, but there’s a bigger picture to it. And it’s more about doing the right thing than about following the letter of the law.
People should definitely get a day off, but sometimes there are more important issues than taking time off. Sometimes things just have to be done. People should definitely reserve time for God. We spend so much of our time on our own things and for our own purposes. Many people work for their own purposes and to make money for themselves. We should give up some portion of our time to God. But sometimes things do have to be done. Hospitals have to stay open all the time. There are always sick people who need care. Someone has to be working at the hospital on Sundays. Police departments, fire departments cannot close up on the weekends. There are emergencies that need to be dealt with in a timely manner. People who get sick on a weekend and need emergency care should not be told to come back Monday (if they’re still alive) because doctors and nurses can’t work on the Sabbath. A house that catches fire on a Sunday will burn down if the fire truck can’t come until Monday.
Our lives are different now, and a lot of businesses are open every day that are not in the emergency business, but even in Jesus’ time, people knew that some things just need done and can’t wait. On the Sabbath, the farmers still feed and water their animals, and they take the animals out of their yokes. This woman had been sick for many years, so I suppose one more day might not have mattered that much, but why should she have to wait one more day? Animals would not be denied their exercise and food on the Sabbath. Should this woman be denied her healing? Sometimes things just have to be done. And sometimes it’s more important to do the right thing than to just follow the rules.
By Tamora Whitney