The man with a withered hand
September 9, 2019
23rd Week in
Col 1: 24-2:3
On a certain Sabbath Jesus went into the synagogue and taught,and there was a man there whose right hand was withered.The scribes and the Pharisees watched him closely to see if hewould cure on the Sabbath so that they might discover a reasonto accuse him. But he realized their intentions and said to theman with the withered hand, “Come up and stand before us.”And he rose and stood there. Then Jesus said to them, “I ask you, is it lawful to do good on the Sabbath rather than to doevil, to save life rather than to destroy it?” Looking around atthem all, he then said to him, “Stretch out your hand.” He did so and his hand was restored. But they became enraged anddiscussed together what they might do to Jesus.
(Daily Gospel in the Assimilated Life Experience)
“Everyone who is born holds dual citizenship, in the kingdom of the well and in the kingdom of the sick,” wrote Susan Sontag in the New York Times Review of Books. If there is such thing as dual kingdoms, we know to which kingdom the Scribes and the Pharisees belong. Their hands may never have been withered physically, but at the spiritual level their hearts were too withered to take pity on a sick man.
They did something worse to the man with a withered hand than doing nothing to rehabilitate him by making it impossible for him to get healing from Jesus. It was not that they had something personal against him. They were just so fanatic about the law. This ripened into vigilant intolerance against violators including those who may have compelling exculpating reasons for doing so. Thus it happened that on a Sabbath they watched Jesus closely, ready to pounce on him should he make any attempt to violate the Sabbath law by healing the man with a withered hand.
Jesus dragged them to the limelight by asking them whether it was lawful to do good on the Sabbath rather than to do evil. Jesus tried to heal them first by opening their eyes to the fact that curing on a Sabbath was tantamount to saving lives – an act no good law can prohibit because of the high priority that the value of life enjoys universally. By remaining closed, they missed one great spiritual opportunity.
If there is such thing as dual kingdoms, the kingdom of the well is a ghost kingdom. Nobody is well. Either we are sick physically, or we are psychologically, morally, or spiritually despite having a God offering healing at all levels. Let us open up to Jesus’ healing power and be the first to move to the kingdom of the well. – (Atty.) Rev. Fr. Dan Domingo P. delos Angeles, Jr., D.M.
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