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.
How to apply this gospel in our daily life? I would like to invite you to take the role and play the characters and see where we stand today. Are we like Jesus who see the suffering and respond to them, come what may? Are we by nature someone who desires to liberate people?
Do we have the mentality of the teachers and Pharisees who remain without doing anything, but waiting for a chance to punish people?
OR are we like the many spectators who simply watch, who neither help the sick person, nor raise the voice against these teachers of the law?
I would like to invite you all to see in Jesus as someone who desires to liberate us and make us a free person. All that is asked from us is to simply ‘stretch out’, come out our prisons and breath the free air. Are we ready?
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).
«Get up and stand in the middle (...). Stretch out your hand»
Fr. Julio César RAMOS González SDB
Today, Jesus provides us with an example of the freedom, which we speak so much about. But, contrary to what most claim or consider as “freedom”, Jesus' freedom, is totally associated and adhered to the Father's actions. He will say: «I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; He can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does» (Jn 5:19). And the Father only does and acts out of love.
Love cannot be imposed but forces us to act, pulls us together and largely reverts to life. Jesus' command: «Get up and stand in the middle» (Lk 6:8) has the vivifying strength of he who loves and responds to the Word. And, the last part of his order: «Stretch out your hand» (Lk 6:10), that concludes the miracle, definitely restores life and strength to what was powerless and dead. “To save” is to draw from death, and this same word translates as “healing”. By healing, Jesus is saving whatever that poor ailing man had dead, and this is a clear sign of God's fatherly love for his creatures. Thus, in the new creation, where the Son does only what He sees his Father doing, the new law that will prevail will be the law of the acting love rather than that of a “dormant” relaxation, including doing good to the brother in need.
Therefore, a conjugated freedom and love is the key for today. Freedom and love conjugated Jesus' way. Today, what St. Augustine used to say: «love and do as you please», is perfectly valid to learn to totally identify ourselves with Christ our Saviour.