Wednesday of 2nd week, uneven Mercredi de la 2e semaine, impaire

“Is it permitted on the Sabbath day to do good or evil? to save life, or to kill?”
Monday 2 November 2015

He. 7 1-3 ,15b-17 Ps. 19 Mc. 3 1-6


“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 he would cure him on the Sabbath day, hoping for something to charge him with.”

The “recital” is too elaborate for us to reduce it to a document, to something seen or else to a souvenir, even embellished by its memory. We are taking part in a drama : it is a question of life or death, of a paralysed hand, of hardened hearts, of anger and of hatred. As the chapter continues, we see tension mounting : Jesus is closely watched, then becomes then an object of a plot where yesterday’s ennemies (pharisiens, herodiens) join together for a common cause. All this occurs in the synagogue, a place where the Word of God is listened to. It is a place where there should be life-and indeed there is life, even for the person with a disability! Violence unfolds its devastating circles. How can we not see a tragic element in this? Jesus truely is the High priest we are in need of. He is compassionate , seeing our misery,and he bears all the misery of mankind.

There was a man with a paralysed hand. When his creature is humiliated, Jesus is stirred to the depths of his soul. Here we are before Jesus, Saviour of the world,who has come to earth with a life that cannot be destroyed. He is king of compassion who will take upon himself all sickness, all suffering, all forms of misery. The Saviour of the world has taken on Him the whole of our humanity in order to free it from misery, suffering and humiliation! Out of compassion for us , Jesus suffers from our suffering.

“And Jesus said to the Pharisiens and to the Herodiens : is it permitted on the Sabbath day to do good, or to do evil?; to save life or to kill?”But they said nothing. Then he looked angrily round 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.“Jesus questions the Pharisiens and Herodiens for compassionate reasons :”On the first day of the week is it permitted to do good? “But they were silent! When God created humanity, it shone forth with Beauty, but alas humanity became perverted.Now it is a question of deciding what the stature of the Sabbath is, the links it has between life and death. What is in question is not so much”doing“than”knowing". here it is about taking up position around a suject of the mystery of life : to do good. By keeping silent, the Pharisiens refuse to enter into a system of values

that Jesus has. They refuse to do good. The “revelation” of Jesus is to have people come to know things which before were hidden. Jesus , Our Saviour, leads his people into compassion. Asking the man with the paralysed hand to come up with him before the assembly, he asks : “Is it permitted to save? and Jesus goes into action, saying to this man :” Stretch out your hand “, and the man was healed! Jesus says” Get up and stand in the middle!“”The Pharisses went out and at once began to plot with the Herodians against him, discussing how to destroy him." At this point the Pharisiens feel contested in their relationship with the law. This conflict of how things are interpreted immediately brings up the question of Jesus’ authority and his identity. If we place it in this context,,the episode of healing on a day of Sabbath comes under an intrigue of revelation. Mark does not just do with bringing up the facts, but he seeks to show the stakes of Jesus’ identity which frees humanity. Jesus will stretch out his hands on the Cross! He asked the man to stretch out his hands and he healed him! They will take Jesus hand also and stretch them out on the Cross and this is the place of our healing.

In the Eucharisy we celebrate this salvation that comes from Jeus for humanity, humanity that is regenerated in his Passion and Ressurection. In the gift of Jeus’ Blood, in the the Sacrifice of his life for us, our hearts are freed for us to love God and to love each other. Grace is communicated by Jesus to those who are affected in their existence and in their integrity.These people exert towards us compassion which places us before our reality, our paralyses deep within ourselves and they permit us to rise with Jesus.

We ask God for the grace of love and compassion.

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