Grace to you!
Have you been in the speed lane and the car in front of you is going 10 miles below the speed limit and the driver doesn’t seem to care? This is one of the causes of road rage, isn’t it? How about the feeling you have when people do not want to help remedy a horrible situation that also affects you and they wouldn’t allow you to step in and change the tide when you have the expertise to do so simply 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 say his injury was not by birth, so it may have developed at some point in his life. It was actually a case of a shriveled hand and the man was likely a stonemason whose livelihood was depended on using his hands. This man was in the synagogue where Jesus entered. Jesus reached out to him and invited him to come to him.
While this was going on, some Pharisees from the Sanhedrin were on the watch to see what Jesus would do. As recorded in this bible text, they were out to find faults, to see if Jesus would heal the man on a Sabbath.
Isn’t it ironical that there are some who come to ceremonies on a faultfinding mission? Even at religious gatherings, we find this would happen too? Why is it that there are people who would come to worship on Sunday, not to worship in total trust and love of God, but to find what this or that minister said and what is correct and what isn’t; to fault-find how the parish is rundown, or how the ushers are not polite. Examples abound. Faultfinding isn’t the best disposition for worship, or is it? Faultfinding prevents the flow of God’s Spirit, it blocks grace from reaching the faultfinder since he or she is beclouded by skepticism.
Jesus’ response in the story of the man with the shriveled hand was brilliant and revealing of 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?” They were silent. Not surprising. Faultfinders often criticize but don’t offer alternative solutions.
Ignoring them, Jesus went ahead and did the miracle. It didn’t change their mind – often faultfinders don’t change insofar as they aren’t open to the truth. But the miracle was done anyway. The man’s hand was healed. He could return to stone masonry and earn his living by working and thereby provide 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, not to be in the way of true freedom, not to stand against the truth, ultimately, not to prevent God from reaching out to many as well as to us.
God love you. God bless you.