It’s Really About Returning His Gifts

Daily Reflection – 1/18/2021

Sacred Scripture

Again, he 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)


Our scripture today is filled with emotion. As always, it points the way for us. It reminds us that His gift of Himself means that we too are called to be givers. But let’s touch on that in a bit.

In this brief passage from scripture, the courage of Jesus stands out. We use a lot of adjectives to describe Christ, but courage is not used frequently.

Look at the emotions that are swirling in this scene. First and foremost, we read that Jesus looked at the Pharisees with anger at their malice and malevolence and was grieved at their hardness of heart, which prevented them not only from seeing the place of charity in the law of God but also from looking on this man with love.  Jesus had the courage to do good, even when it would cost him his life.

The Pharisees were consumed with hatred and their desire to entrap Jesus. That hatred was so consuming that they rushed out to conspire with the followers of Herod to kill Jesus.

The man that Jesus cured had a withered hand but a heart open to faith; the others had good health but closed and hard hearts.

Once again though, we see the pure love of Jesus Christ. Once again, he entered the suffering of others, not out of pity but of love. Out of sadness and anger at the world’s hardness of heart came abundant love to heal the withered hand and to transform the man’s life, bringing him out of the shadows and into the light.

It is in this healing movement of Jesus – not just from Galilee to Jerusalem but in his turning from appeasement of the powerful towards solidarity with the suffering – that we are saved, that we are all healed. By the power of Jesus to turn rejection, betrayal, and hardness of heart into compassion, we are healed. By the courage of Jesus, we are inspired.

We know no greater gift than the love that Jesus has for you and for me.

Does that gift fill you each day?

How about this simple but profound exercise? Begin each day by telling God that you are his for the day. My prayer is simple: “Lord, I am yours today”

Now if we mean that in our prayer, think of how that simple dedication of yourself to Him will govern your day.

Talk about emotion! We start the day by recognizing His great love for us and returning that love by proclaiming that we are His. We begin the day surrounded by His love. That’s enough to take away any clouds that surround us.

But there is so much more. His gift of love means that each of us is a lover. A lover of all that He created. We are filled with the tenderness of love and our thoughts and actions are blessed as we move through the day.

While our humanity might lead us to want to be served, we realize that we are to be the servers. We are called, each in our own way, to be a servant of Him.

To be compassionate where there is despair or grief.

To be courageous about our love of Him and dare to stand apart when actions and words around us are contra to His commands.

To be a beacon of light and love especially to the less fortunate, the marginalized, the cast offs of society.

Compassion, love, kindness, tenderness, courage – those and more are the gifts we give back to Him who gave all.

He came to unite us to himself so that he might unite us in love to each other, so that we might become “one body, one spirit in Christ.” By his wounds we are healed. All that is needed is for us to step out of the shadows and to stretch out our hand in love to Him and to one another.

Prayer of The Day

“My Lord and my God, forgive me those times that I have hidden in the shadows of this world. Strengthen me that I may freely and openly live out your teachings.”

Daily Note

St. Paul reminds us: “If I have not love, I am nothing.” Christianity is all about love and not conformity to laws. Jesus uttered a principle that transcends all positive law: It is always justified to do what is good, provided no greater good is denied.

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