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.
Jesus perfectly shows his humanity in today’s Gospel. You may have had a similar experience: someone provokes you and stands ready to call your mistake. Our emotional response to such people may be anger, grief, and frustration at their “hardness of heart.” It feels like there is no appropriate response. But lucky for us, Jesus shows us a response to those feelings.
It can be tempting to correct or condemn the people that frustrate us. But often, our words fall on deaf ears, and we end up fostering our own anger instead of diminishing theirs. Jesus’ response is courageous action that demonstrates his loving stance which serves as an example of the spirit of the law.
There are plenty of ways we too can courageously demonstrate the spirit of the Gospel. Who in your life needs your example of compassion, love, and hope, more than your words?
—Rachel Forton is the Marketing & Retreat Coordinator for Bellarmine Jesuit Retreat House in Barrington, IL.
O Lord, open my eyes that I may see the needs of others
Open my ears that I may hear their cries;
Open my heart so that they need not be without succor;
Let me not be afraid to defend the weak because of the anger of the strong,
Nor afraid to defend the poor because of the anger of the rich.
Show me where love and hope and faith are needed,
And use me to bring them to those places.
And so open my eyes and my ears
That I may this coming day be able to do some work of peace for thee. Amen.