Posted by: fvbcdm | September 10, 2012

Feast of Nicholas of Tolentino (10 Sept 2012)


In the gospel of today’s Mass we find another of the healing miracles of Our Lord. He goes into a synagogue on the Sabbath—probably in the lake town of Caphernaum. Among the worshippers was a man with a withered hand.  Did he ask to be healed?  We are not told that. But Our Lord took the initiative. He was very much aware that the Pharisees were observing him closely to see whether he would heal the man on the Sabbath, which they considered sinful.  He then, to focus attention upon what he was about to do, asked the man to come out into the middle of the congregation where he could be seen by all, and all could see what was about to happen.  The tension and suspense increased.  Jesus then asked the group whether it was lawful to do good on the Sabbath.  No answer seems to have been forthcoming. Our Lord then said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.”  His withered hand was restored.  And the Pharisees became enraged and discussed what they might do to Jesus.  

Why were they enraged?  Because Jesus did something which was very good, but at the wrong time, from their point of view.   They weren’t very keen about his miracles to begin with since they proved his divinity, which the Pharisees flatly denied.  And in particular they were upset because of the legal restrictions about doing any kind of work on the Sabbath, and healing was, in their opinion, work.  Jesus did good; he gave an afflicted man back the use of his crippled hand.  Ah, but he broke the law which was sacrosanct to the Pharisees.  The fact that we have our bodies with all their faculties as gifts of our Heavenly Father was not as important to the Pharisees as the no-work on the Sabbath regulation.  Of course, for our Lord there was no work involved.  Jesus did not even touch the man.  He could maintain the Sabbath rest and still give the great gift of a healthy hand to a man deprived of it.  Didn’t this impress the Pharisees?  NO!  One of their laws said “No healing on the Sabbath,” and so Jesus was wrong, sinful, a breaker of the law.  And ultimately, this led to the Pharisees’ plots for his death.  God had said long ago, “Thou shalt not kill.”  The Pharisees said “Thou shalt not heal.”  Let us pray often for the gift of Christ’s healing—physical, spiritual, emotional, intellectual.  And let us allow Him to decide whether what we are asking Him for is right or wrong, and thus to grant our prayer or give us something more in keeping with his Holy Will. Thank you for seeking God’s truth. God bless you all! Father Victor Brown, O.P.


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