Jesus entered the synagogue. There was a man there who had a withered hand. They watched Jesus closely to see if he would cure him on the Sabbath so that they might accuse him. He said to the man with the withered hand, “Come up here before us.” Then he said to the Pharisees, “Is it lawful to do good on the Sabbath rather than to do evil, to save life rather than to destroy it?” But they remained silent. Looking around at them with anger and grieved at their hardness of heart, Jesus said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out and his hand was restored. The Pharisees went out and immediately took counsel with the Herodians against him to put him to death.
This man is a danger to religion, to the prophecies of the prophets, and also to the law of Moses. Like Goliath, these people with their power want to do away with this danger, Jesus. Yet He did nothing but good, and they agreed with Him, because they were no longer able to oppose Him. When man relies on his own power, ignoring the divine will, he hides, like Adam, behind rules and traditions.
The day man learns to stand before God as a righteous man, and his presence will be de facto divine glory. The Sabbath was established so that man could give glory to God and what good is that glory when one ignores God and His will? Before this divine will, for David, Goliath was so small, like a little dog. And we need to look everything with faith and God will give us the necessary grace to face our adversaries.
Action of the day: Learn to imitate the way Jesus look at people.
“Is it lawful to do good on the Sabbath rather than to do evil, to save life rather than to destroy it?”
Fr. Joaquim MESEGUER García
(Rubí, Barcelona, Spain)
Today, Jesus tells us we must always do good: There is no such thing as a time to do good and a time to overlook our love for others. The love we receive through God brings us to the supreme Law that Jesus left us in the new commandment: “Love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another” (Jn 13:34). Jesus neither repeals nor criticizes Moses' Law, inasmuch as He is the first to comply with its precepts and go to the synagogue on the Sabbath; rather, what Jesus criticizes is the narrow-minded version of the Law espoused by its masters and the Pharisees, an interpretation leaving little room for mercy.
Jesus Christ has come to proclaim the Gospel of salvation, but his antagonists, far from being convinced, seek to find all kind of pretexts against him: “There was a man there who had a withered hand. They watched Jesus closely to see if he would cure him on the Sabbath so that they might accuse him” (Mk 3:1-2). At the same time as we witness the power of grace, we also witness the hardheartedness of those boastful men, who believe they have the truth on their side. Were those Pharisees joyful upon realizing that poor man's withered hand had been cured? Certainly not; quite the opposite, they were even more blinded, to the point of rushing to make a deal with Herod's supporters —their natural foes— looking for a way to destroy Jesus. Curious alliance!
With his action, Jesus also removes the chains with which the masters of the Law and the Pharisees had constrained the Sabbath, while conferring it its true meaning: the day of communion between God and man, the day of liberation from slavery, the day of salvation from evil forces. Saint Augustine tells us: “He who has peace in the conscience, is peaceful, and this very peace is his heart's Sabbath.” With Jesus Christ, the Sabbath already foreshadows the gift of Sunday.