On another Sabbath Jesus entered the synagogue and began teaching. There was a man with a paralyzed right hand and the teachers of the Law and the Pharisees watched him: Would Jesus heal the man on the Sabbath? If He did, they could accuse him. But Jesus knew their thoughts and said to the man, «Get up and stand in the middle». Then he spoke to them, «I want to ask you: what is allowed by the Law on the Sabbath, to do good or to do harm, to save life or destroy it?». And Jesus looked around at them all. Then He said to the man, «Stretch out your hand». He stretched it out and his hand was restored, becoming as whole as the other. But they were furious and began to discuss with one another how they could deal with Jesus.
The Pharisees were worried about the Sabbath rituals, particularly certain obligations. They were not wrong in their observation, but failed drastically in their thinking. It is here Jesus is inviting us to look into, because it is from here our action finds its origin. Many at times, we don’t have the full truth and we claim to have them, because we don’t understand the inner pain and suffering of every individual.
The person of the gospel and his needs are same and the events will follow the way we look at the person and the way we act upon. Jesus is asking each and every one us to look at every individual with love, compassion and generosity. Once this process of discernment is observed, the consequence will be our concrete engagement for the well-being of the person.
Today’s event helps us to understand the divine behaviour for our imitation. In Jesus we understand, how God thinks and acts. When we are confused or disturbed, what should be our priority; doing good or bad? The external events help us to understand our own interiority. The anger reveals their interiority and the compassion of the Lord reveals the divine goodness.
Action of the day: observe the way you look at people and judge them. It is filled with compassion?
Daily Quote from the early church fathers:
Jesus heals to teach the Pharisees mercy,
by Cyril of Alexandria (376-444 AD)
"The miracle sometimes converts to faith those who had disbelieved the word, but the Pharisees watched him to see if he would heal on the sabbath. The nature of an envious person is such that he makes the praises of others food for his own disease and is wickedly maddened by their reputation. Once more he spoke to this; 'he reveals deep and mysterious things; he knows what is in the darkness, and the light dwells with him' (Daniel 2:22). And why did he do this? Perhaps it might be to move the cruel and unpitying Pharisee to compassion. The man’s malady [his withered hand] perhaps might shame them and persuade them to dispel the flames of their envy.
"This question is most wise indeed and a most suitable statement to meet their folly. If it is lawful to do good on the sabbath and nothing prevents the sick being pitied by God, cease picking up opportunities for fault-finding against Christ and bringing down on your own head the sentence which the Father has decreed against those who dishonor the Son. You have heard the Father where he says of the Son by the voice of David, 'I will crush his foes before him and strike down those who hate him' (Psalm 89:23). But if it is not lawful to do good on the sabbath and the law forbids the saving of life, you have made yourself an accuser of the law." (quote from COMMENTARY ON LUKE, HOMILY 23).