Wednesday of 2nd week, even numbered year Mercredi de la 2e semaine, année paire

“Is it permitted on the Sabbath to do good, or to do evil?”
Monday 7 December 2015

1 S.17,32-33,37.40-51 Ps.143 Mk.3,1-6

Wednesday of 2nd week, even numbered year

“Another time, Jesus went into the synagogue and there was a man present whose hand was withered. And they were watching him to see if they would cure him on the Sabbath day, hoping for something to charge him with.He said to the man with the withered hand, ’Get up and stand in the middle!’ Then he said to them ’Is it permitted on the Sabbath day to do good or evil? ; to save life or to kill?”

A withered hand can speak to us of our capacity to act. It can be diminished in its capacity, made weak, inoperative, paralysed in in its individual and collective dimension. Are there withered hands in my life?

Jesus is a messenger of peace, sensitive to suffering, to the misery of his brothers. The only thing He seeks is their liberation. But he is being watched - will he or not heal this man on the Sabbath day! We too can have the experience of being watched in our lives, so as to be accused! The poor person himself is not recognised as being a person, but he is used. Jesus questions the crowd about the hardness of those in charge of the people : ’Is it allowed, yes or no, on the Sabbath day to do good rather than evil?’ ’They were quiet’. We all know about these silences that weigh us down! Jesus sees this man with his paralysed hand, he brings up compassion in Him. ’Come and stand up in front of everybody.’ Jesus is broken hearted about the hardness of their hearts!

“Then he looked angrily around at them, grieved to find them so obstinate, and said to the man, ’Stretch out your hand!’ He stretched it out and his hand was restored.”

We can understand how Jesus does this to the point of putting his life in danger. He is strong enough to put his life at risk in doing this gesture, this one and all the others he will do will be the same. Jesus knows that he will provoke scandal for the Pharisees when he heals that man on the Sabbath day. There are similarities in the way of Jesus’s Adversary and the way of Goliath : it is this desire to be victorious by one’s own means. David prefigured Jesus in this victory of Love when he seeks the liberation of the Philistines. His path announces that of Jesus, it is through weakness and poverty that they obtain

victory. David is still young, he places his confidence in God : ’The Philistines moved forward, he looked scornfully at David ’So am I a dog that you come towards me with a stick?’ He throws a curse at him : ’I’ll give you to the birds to eat!’ David replied “You walk against me with the sword, the spear and the javelin, but I do so in the name of the Living God.”

“Stretch out your hand’, said Jesus. He did, and his hand became normal again.”The Pharisees went out and began at once to plot with the Herodians against him, discussing how to destroy him."

Jesus’ anger is caused by the Pharisees’ hardened hearts. They had already thought about killing Jesus. We can see very well here the reasons for Christ’s Passion and death : a language, taking up positions, actions, certain ones unbearable for some : those who had everything to lose by this Gospel of freedom, love and mercy. We ask for the grace to get out of this blindness which imprisons people. God is always giving us signals as we move forward, so that we get out of this violence. Also, the poor are given to us so that our hearts be opened up : ’Is it permitted to do good or evil on the Sabbath day?’ I do not lean on my own strength, but on the Love of God. I wish to be his servant, I ask just one thing, that it be God who does his work. ’Know that on this very day God has given me victory’. With his catapult, David touches Goliath’s head, it is symbolic for hidden pride in the head, which is touched by Jesus. He triumphs because he left the place for God.

We ask for the grace to hear the Word of God and to be truly artisans of Peace.

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