Again he entered the synagogue, and a man was there who had a withered hand. They watched him to see whether he would cure him on the sabbath, so that they might accuse him. And he said to the man who had the withered hand, “Come forward.” Then he said to them, “Is it lawful to do good or to do harm on the sabbath, to save life or to kill?” But they were silent.
He looked around at them with anger; he was grieved at their hardness of heart and said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and his hand was restored. The Pharisees went out and immediately conspired with the Herodians against him, how to destroy him.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
In the Principle and Foundation at the beginning of the Spiritual Exercises, St. Ignatius introduces us to the concept of “indifference.” By this word he does not mean that we do not care, but that all our choices should simply be guided by answering the question, “What will lead to a closer and more loving relationship with God and all creation?” If we make anything else the center of our lives, we break our relationship with God and hinder our growth as loving persons. Indifference is actually freedom from disordered attachments which keep us from fullness of life.
I think a seriously disordered attachment is what we see in today’s gospel when the Pharisees are making the Sabbath more important than mercy and healing. I think this is also something Pope Francis has warned us about in so many ways. Most recently, he has asked his own staff to examine their own consciences about disordered attachments in the way they perceive themselves and their jobs.
Every day, I need to remind myself to ask, what is really important? What does love require? How will the choices I make today contribute best to the praise, reverence and service of God?
—David McNulty works for the Midwest Jesuits. Dave and his wife Judy are grandparents of six.
Lord, we come to you seeking the healing of our body and soul. Our spirits need renewal; our relationships need strengthening, and our health needs your attention. Lord, we have a sacred lesson to learn from the man with the withered hand. It was his willingness to reach out that opened the possibility of his cure. Lord, please give us the grace to reach out to you, to allow ourselves to be vulnerable and to receive your healing.
—The Jesuit Prayer Team