Jesus confronts the Pharisees by provocatively healing the man with a withered hand on the Sabbath. Every Catholic man can grow in happiness by building the Virtue of Fortitude so he can be strengthened by Christ to endure suffering and by seeking the Fruit of Generosity so he can always respond to the suffering with Works of Mercy.

Liturgy

2nd Week in Ordinary Time – Wednesday – Mk 3:1-6

Commentary

After clashing with the Jewish leaders 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 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 His previous rebukes, the devious and cowardly Pharisees refuse to answer. The man with the withered right hand, resigned to live his remaining days in dishonor as an emasculated cripple due to his inability to work and provide 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 furious and team up with their rivals, the Herodians, and plot to destroy Jesus. 

Be awed by Jesus Christ

Consider how Jesus responds to those who oppose His Will: His powerful Gaze bores into the eyes and souls of those who oppose Him; His Angercauses sinners to fear and retreat; He deliberately offers profound and provocative teaching and miraculous acts to challenge and motivate sinners to repent.

Be strengthened in Christ to endure suffering

Realize: As the Master carried His Cross, every Catholic man is destined to carry the cross of his own or another’s suffering, be it physical or mental, illness or injury, temporary or chronic, mild or severe.

Believe: Reflect upon Suffering (CCC 164, 272, 385, 618, 1264, 1500-1502, 1521).

Pray: Jesus, Crucified Christ, help me grow in the Virtue of Fortitude so I can draw closer to You and seek Your Divine Mercy in the midst of suffering and sorrow, and persevere through suffering by seeking to courageously imitate Your heroic sacrifice on the Cross.

Generously respond to other’s suffering with Works of Mercy

Realize: In the healing of the man with the withered hand and countless other examples, Jesus demonstrates His great generosity to extend mercy to the suffering, confirming the requirement for every Catholic man to extend mercy to others; generously serving others who suffer can be a beautiful blessing to both those who suffer, the man who cares for them, and all who witness generous acts of love for the suffering.

Believe: Review the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy (CCC 2443-2449).

Pray: Holy Spirit, give me the Fruit of Generosity so I am always filled with heartfelt compassion when I witness the suffering of another, and am immediately moved to imitate Jesus by generously responding with prayers and loving Works of Mercy to help comfort and heal those who are suffering.