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My Father is still working, and I also am working. ~ John 5:17

I recently noticed a linguistic quirk, or what might be considered a false cognate, between English and Spanish. In English, the word “fastidious” generally praises a person’s meticulous attention to detail. However, in Spanish, calling someone “fastidioso” describes them as overly fixated on minutiae to the point of being annoying.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus displays little patience for the religious fastidiosos of his day. He heals a man who has suffered for 38 years, and when religious authorities object because the healing takes place on the Sabbath, Jesus redirects their focus to the greater miracle of the healing itself. In response to their rule-based objections, Jesus states, “My Father is still working, and I also am working.”

As someone who values rules, order, policies and procedures, I often grapple with whether I am being “fastidious” or “fastidioso.” I believe that religion, perhaps especially Anglicanism, tends to attract and cultivate a certain fastidious personality, for better and worse. Jesus’ example reminds us to focus on the bigger picture. God continually invites us to recognize the transcendent miracles happening in our midst.

Today’s readings

In your life, how do you balance between upholding rules and policies while also recognizing the importance of seeing the larger, transcendent miracles that unfold around you?

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