Jesus was teaching in a synagogue on the sabbath. And a woman was there who for eighteen years had been crippled by a spirit; she was bent over, completely incapable of standing erect. When Jesus saw her, he called to her and said, “Woman, you are set free of your infirmity.” He laid his hands on her, and she at once stood up straight and glorified God (Lk 13:1013).
In reading this Gospel passage, we see again the compassion and mercy of Jesus. He was aware and saw the need of the crippled woman, called her to himself, she came, and through his words and laying on of hands the woman was healed. He did so without hesitation, knowing that since he was healing on the sabbath this would bring further scrutiny and criticism. Yet, Jesus did not think of himself, he thought of the woman in need and made himself present to her.
Jesus is a model of service and the very power as Son of God that invokes healing. Jesus was aware of her need. The first step in building a culture of life is to respect the dignity of each person we encounter and to be aware of their need. It is much easier to not be aware or to operate from a position of they brought the issue on themselves. We can react with impatience because we would rather not be bothered with another’s issues.
The next step is invitation. Once Jesus becomes aware of the woman, he invites her to come to him. Jesus did not impose his will, even to will the woman’s good and bring her healing. He instead invited her to come. We need to respect another’s option to say no to help and allow them to come on their own. Though there are times, such as those who are dealing with an addiction, when there may be a need for more direct intervention.
Let us resist being stumbling blocks to others in need of the healing presence of Jesus. We are all capable of accepting another where there are and as they are, we can will their good, and we can be a healing, understanding, and supportive presence to another in need. We can be a means of healing as were the four men who brought their crippled friend to Jesus and being undeterred from not having access by letting him down through a roof (see Mark 2:1-12 and Matthew 9:1-8). We can bring the love and mercy of Christ to others. When there is awareness, invitation, acceptance of invitation, and two or more gathered in the name of Jesus, there can be healing.