Jesus miraculously heals a man with a withered hand on the Sabbath and infuriates the Pharisees. Every Catholic man can grow in happiness by seeking the Gift of Wisdom from the Holy Spirit so he can prioritize the love of people over animals and by seeking the Gift of Understanding so he can be guided by the Spirit to find blessings in suffering.
23rd Week in Ordinary time – Monday- Lk 6:6-11
After run-ins with the Pharisees and scribes about the Sabbath and His authority, Jesus again goes on the offensive on the Sabbath in the synagogue. The Pharisees, in their attempts to “will” Israel into God’s favor by enforcing rigorous pious practices, had lost sight of love and mercy; even more grievous, the Pharisees and scribes were blind to the Son of God in their midst.
The perfect balance of truth and mercy, Jesus mercifully seeks to engage the Pharisees in truth, exposing their confusion with a spectacular miracle. After teaching in the synagogue, Jesus turns His attention to the Pharisees, knowing they hope to accuse Him for healing on the Sabbath, a breaking of the law in their twisted minds. Rather than play it safe, Jesus has a man with a withered right hand stand up and provocatively asks the Pharisees, the experts in the law, a question about the law. The author of the Law, Jesus knows that the law forbids servile work on the Sabbath but not works of mercy (Ex 20:23). Jesus asks: “Is it lawful on the sabbath to do good or to do harm, to save life or to destroy it?”
Jesus’ powerful gaze falls on each of His would-be accusers, but stung by previous rebukes from Jesus, the devious and cowardly Pharisees refuse to answer. The man with the withered right hand, resigned to live his remaining days as an emasculated cripple due to his inability to hold down a vocation and provide honorably for his family, faithfully stretches out his right hand at Jesus’ command; the man’s hand and his role as a provider for his family, is miraculously restored. Instead of marveling at the miracle, the Pharisees and scribes, pious practicers of the “law”, are filled with sufficient fury to commit themselves in a plot against Jesus.
Be awed by Jesus Christ
Marvel at Jesus, with perfect Prudence (Foresight, Shrewdness), has carefully watched those watching Him, realizes they are seeking to accuse Him, asks them a question which destroys their plan to accuse Him and then simply performs a miracle with no comment, taking away His enemies’ chance to immediately attack Him.
Seek Wisdom to prioritize the love of people over animals
Realize: The widespread infatuation with animals (animal “rights”, billions spent on pet care, pet rescue, calling pets “children”, militant veganism) can reject and confuse God’s order of Creation; in Matthew’s version of today’s Gospel (Mt 12:9-14), Jesus makes it clear that men are superior to animals.
Believe: Review Man’s Creation in the Image of God (CCC 342-344, 355-361).
Pray: Holy Spirit, give me the Gift of Wisdom so I can better understand the beauty, goodness, and order of Your Creation, realize that You created only man in Your image and likeness, and never replace the love and care I owe people with misplaced affection for animals.
Be guided by the Spirit to find blessings in suffering
Realize: While some hate suffering and see suffering as proof that God does not exist, Catholics have always realized the truth that the Passion of Jesus proves God’s existence and love, that suffering draws men to God for redemption and relief, and that suffering moves men to imitate Jesus by generously loving and caring for the suffering.
Believe: Reflect upon Suffering (CCC 164, 272, 385, 618, 1264, 1500-1502, 1521).
Pray: Holy Spirit, give me the Gift of Understanding so I can realize the beautiful blessings You give me in suffering, be drawn to You during suffering, and be guided by You to understand how to generously love and comfort those who suffer.