25th Sunday after Pentecost, Nov. 26, 2017. Eph 4:1-6; Lk 13:10-17

Can you imagine what it would be like to be all stooped over, unable to stand up straight? You would have difficulty looking up; you would be looking at the floor or the ground; Dirt, shoes, bugs; Jesus’ sandals and feet. Not very inspiring is it?

This was the plight of the woman in today’s Gospel event. But when Jesus healed her she could stand up straight and look up. Now she could see the treetops, the birds, the faces of the people around her, the face of Jesus.

When she was bent over, she had very limited vision. Her world and her experiences were limited to a very small scope. She saw the same old things in the same old way, day in and day out.

But when she stood up straight and looked upward, she had a new experience; one she hadn’t had for 18 years. Now she saw the broad spectrum. She became far-seeing and saw new things.

The synagogue ruler was like her when she was bent over. He could only see within the narrow confines of legalistic prescriptions; He didn’t even understand the meaning of the law he wanted to enforce.

The violence we have seen here in the United States and around the world over the past months is not the wide vision that can see the whole picture. It is the narrow vision of seeing only oneself as the whole picture, as did the leader of the synagogue. Seeking the wide vision allows us to understand how the individual good must be balanced over the good of the entire community. Responding violently to an unwanted decision is nothing more than childish pouting and acting out, now matter how much it is couched in noble terms.

In today’s apostolic reading, St. Paul exhorts us all to live in a manner worthy of the call we have received. This requires humility and gentleness, not self-interest and violence. It requires us to be patient, even with difficult or undesired situations. It most assuredly challenges us to bear with one another through love – not hate, back-biting or violence.

Jesus calls us to this broader vision in our parish and in the wider communities of our city, our state and our nation. He wants to heal us of our stooped over earth-bound view. He wants us to see our lives from the perspective of the kingdom of God. He wants us to see the total picture and change our lives accordingly.

In your life, what picture do you see? Is it the stooped-over of only today; only now; only myself and my needs or comfort? Or is it the wider vision of the future and what you can do to make a difference in your life and in the lives of others?

Our Parish Pastoral Council will be reviewing our three-year plan at the end of January. I will be taking up a survey from you to help in the process. We need that input from each of you, the committed parishioners.

The committed parishioner will work for the growth of the parish; for the continuation of our parish so that future generations in Lorain County and elsewhere can have the experience of our Byzantine Catholic faith. It is essential to volunteer not only treasure but time and talent as well to keep our parish going and growing and improving. There cannot be an attitude of only worrying about oneself, that the parish will be here long enough to last one’s own lifetime. The wider vision is needed.

St. Paul warns us today to preserve the unity of the spirit through the bond of peace because we are called to unity in God.

None of us can be spiritually stooped over, not seeing the others with whom we are in unity. We need that bond of peace.

Moving beyond our parish, at your job or other daily activities, see the big picture of how you contribute to God’s kingdom.
to the well-being of humanity; to the quality of the world around you.

See yourself with the wide vision, not the stooped over limited vision.

Don’t be bent over, utterly unable to look upwards. Stand up straight, look up and praise God. Help our parish grow and flourish. Contribute to the betterment of the world around you. Behold the face of Jesus.


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