straighten up at all. On seeing her, Jesus called her and said, “Woman, you are freed from
yourinfirmity.” Then he laid his hands upon her,and immediately she was made straight and
praised God. But the ruler of the synagogue was indignant, because Jesus had performed this
healing on the Sabbath day, and he said to the people, “There are six days in which to work.
Come on those days to be healed, and not on the Sabbath!”
But the Lord replied, “You hypocrites! Everyone of you unties his ox or his donkey on the Sabbath,
and leads it out of the barn to give it water. And here you have a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan
had bound for eighteen years. Should she not be freed from her bonds on the Sabbath?”
When Jesus said this, all his opponents felt ashamed. But the people rejoiced at the many wonderful
things that happened because of him.
Like the raising of the son of the widow of Nain (cf. Lk 7:11-17), here is another occasion when
Jesus responds to the situation of a woman without being asked to. Why does he do so? Of
course, it has been in the DNA of Jesus to be moved by compassion for those who suffer.
Yet, there is more to it in this context. Perhaps Jesus was keenly aware of the silencing and
sidelining of women in patriarchal societies. How many women, even today, can fearlessly
voice their needs? Hence, Jesus, who knew human hearts, wouldn’t wait for women
to walk up to him and ask for what they need; he would reach out to them and fulfil their
needs even before they could find their voice. Today we honor the memory of Saint Anthony
Mary Claret (1807-1870) who appropriated that trait of Jesus. Claret was ahead of his times
to speak against slavery and demand dignified treatment of slaves, while he was archbishop
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