But the Lord answered him (synagogue leader) and said, “You hypocrites! Does not each of you on the Sabbath untie his ox or his donkey from the manger, and lead it away to give it water? And ought not this woman, a daughter of Abraham whom Satan bound for eighteen long years, be set free from this bondage on the Sabbath day?” Luke 13:15-16
It seems like more and more commercials on TV are trying to raise funds to save animals. We see pictures of tigers, baby seals being clubbed to death, pictures of dogs and cats that have been abused. All of these commercials are trying to get us to send money. PETA makes a big deal about cattle being abused in slaughter houses minutes before being killed. I sometimes wonder, why are we so concerned about animals? Why is there not a similar outcry over the news that thousands of children die each day of starvation? Where is the concern for the teenage boys and girls being used in sex trafficking? Why is it so hard to sentence a husband for spouse abuse? Where is the outrage when he is slapped on the hands and set free while his wife continues to live in fear of her life? In the gospel text assigned for Sunday Jesus heals a woman, who has suffered for 18 years, on the Sabbath. Immediately Jesus is criticized. But Jesus asked a good question why do you show more concern for your animals by watering them on the Sabbath than you do for this woman who has suffered for 18 years. The animals no doubt were prized possessions, while the woman was a nameless outcast. But Jesus sees her not as a nameless outcast but as a “daughter of Abraham”. Jesus is reminding us that all people have worth since God has created all humans in God’s image. Animals were not created in God’s image, only humans were. Jesus is reminding us that it is wrong to value animals and pets over the poor, the nameless, the unborn, the street children, the hungry. I am not saying we should mistreat animals but rather reminding us that to Jesus human beings come first and will always be more important than pets. The same should be true for us also.