Grace to you!
Have you been in the speed lane and the car in front of you is going ten miles below the speed limit? The driver doesn't seem to care that he is blocking the way. In the meantime, traffic stretches from Jerusalem to Jericho. You feel like losing your temper, don't you?
How about the feeling you have when people do not want to help remedy a horrible situation? Perhaps, the awful condition affects you, a person you know, or the vulnerable. Though you have the expertise to solve the problem, the people won't let you do so merely because they are in charge. That kind of feeling is what comes to my mind when I read Mk 3:1-6.
The story is about a man with a withered hand. Some Bible scholars suggest his injury was not by birth. It was a case of a shriveled hand. Some suggest the man was likely a stonemason whose livelihood depended on using his hands. The man was in the synagogue where the Lord Jesus entered. The Lord noticed, as he always does. He reached out to him and invited him to come.
Meanwhile, some Pharisees from the Sanhedrin were on the watch to see what Jesus would do. They were not concerned about the pain of the man who was suffering. As recorded, they were out to find faults to see if Jesus would heal the man on a Sabbath.
Isn't it ironic that some come to ceremonies on a faultfinding mission? Even at religious gatherings, it happens too. It seems some come, not to worship in total trust and love of God. They seem to be more on a faultfinding mission. They are more engaged with what wrong the pastor did or said. How the parish is run-down. Or how impolite were the ushers, etc.
I'm not in any way condoning pastors who do not serve their communities and lead by example, the authentic faith. Nevertheless, the censorious spirit is hardly a virtue.
Faultfinding isn't the best disposition for worship. It prevents the flow of God's Spirit. It hinders grace from reaching the faultfinder because skepticism beclouds their appreciating of things. There is much good to see. It takes a gracious heart to see them.
The Lord's response in the story of the man with the shriveled hand was brilliant. It reveals his heart of compassion, mercy, and love. He said to the Pharisees, "Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do harm, to save life or to kill?" (Mk 3:4).
They were silent. It’s expected. Faultfinders often criticize but don't offer alternative solutions.
Ignoring them, the Lord went ahead and did the miracle. It didn't change their mind. It isn't surprising because, often, faultfinders don't change insofar as they aren't open to the truth. The Lord did the miracle anyway. He healed the man's hand. The man could return to stone masonry and earn his living by working; providing for himself and his family.
As we reflect on this story today, hopefully, may I ask we try our best not to hinder people's success. Never be in the way of true freedom. Never stand against the truth. Ultimately, may we not prevent God from reaching out to many, as well as to us. Help. Do not hinder.
God love you. God bless you.
Fr. Maurice Emelu
[Wednesday, Week 2 in Ordinary Time C: 1 Sm 17:32-33, 37, 40-51; Mk 3:1-6]
Author and Goal
Father Maurice Emelu PhD., provides a daily blog of reflections based on the Scriptural readings of the day from the Catholic liturgical calendar. The goal is to teach, inspire, encourage, and foster healing through the grace of God's word. They are written in a language that is appropriate for a general audience. You will find these reflections helpful for your spiritual growth, inspiration, and developing your thoughts. They may also be useful for ministers in preparing their sermons for liturgical celebrations.