Daily Reflection – 1/23/19
Jesus entered the synagogue. There was a man there who had a withered hand. They watched him 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 them, “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, he 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. (Mark 3:1-6)
Stretch out your hand.He stretched it out and it was restored.
There is much the Lord can do and there is much I can do. The Lord did not put us on an earth that was already cultivated, groomed and furnished. He wants our participation. He wants only what we can give to him and he will push us to realize what we are capable of giving, achieving and realizing. This is the history of our Christian life. This is the reason why the Lord gave us eyes, legs, ears, hands and a mouth: to live his life over and over again until He comes again. He is the First and the Last. We are the middle.
The man was successful because he sought out the Lord to restore his withered hand and came home restored and filled with faith. In contrast, the Pharisees and the scribes saw that the Lord had worked on the Sabbath and, poisoned with envy, they set out to destroy the Lord. For this reason, Jesus asks the question “Is it lawful on the Sabbath to save life rather than destroy it?” He hoped for an answer. He received none.
Do I realize that by my words and actions I may be responsible for saving a life or destroying it? Do I answer the call, ignore it, or worse – Do I hang up? Do I make up excuses in order to excuse myself from my Christian duties? Do I fulfill my ministry or do I excuse myself?
To walk away from my brother who suffers is to put enmity between God and myself. After all, as I walk away there could be nothing further from the truth! God loves us, which means he sends us. We are his most beloved! He created me and said, “This is very good.” When we are in doubt, when we are not sure how far we should go, the answer comes from an unlikely source: the man with the withered hand.
Jesus says to all of us today, “Stretch out your hand.” And not because we need to be healed, but because we can!
Prayer of The Day
Thank you for calling me — with all of my weakness, sins, and limitations — to be your apostle. Help me never to surrender to evil in my heart, but to grow in the goodness of heart to be more like you.
For Christians of all ages, Jesus models the imperative of observing the love commandment no matter what the personal risk. Since we have been baptized into Christ and have become the Body of Christ, we are now called to live in this new life, in this “new creation”. Believers are now saved not by fidelity to the external law but by fidelity to this inner law of the Spirit written on their hearts.