23rd Week in Ordinary Time
1st Reading: 1Cor 5:1-8
Brothers and sisters: It is widely reported that there is immorality among you, and immorality of a kind not found even among pagans– a man living with his father’s wife. And you are inflated with pride. Should you not rather have been sorrowful? The one who did this deed should be expelled from your midst. I, for my part, although absent in body but present in spirit, have already, as if present, pronounced judgment on the one who has committed this deed, in the name of our Lord Jesus: when you have gathered together and I am with you in spirit with the power of the Lord Jesus, you are to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of his flesh, so that his spirit may be saved on the day of the Lord. Your boasting is not appropriate. Do you not know that a little yeast leavens all the dough? Clear out the old yeast, so that you may become a fresh batch of dough, inasmuch as you are unleavened. For our Paschal Lamb, Christ, has been sacrificed. Therefore, let us celebrate the feast, not with the old yeast, the yeast of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
Gospel: Lk 6:6-11
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 he would cure on the sabbath so that they might discover a reason to accuse him. But he realized their intentions and said to the man 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 do evil, to save life rather than to destroy it?” Looking around at them all, he then said to him, “Stretch out your hand.” He did so and his hand was restored. But they became enraged and discussed together what they might do to Jesus.
STAND BEFORE US! One might ask, what did Jesus see in the man with the withered hand that the scribes and pharisees could not? Jesus’s response seems to suggest a point he had repeatedly stressed; “the Son of man is Lord of the Sabbath” (Matt. 12:8) and of course, “the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath” (Mk. 2:27). The laws ought to help us become better human beings, attentive to the needs of others. On the contrary, the scribes and pharisees used the law as a shield. Shielded by their defense of the law, they directed their attention on the letters of the law but not on the person in need. At times the law could also serve as a shield for us to neglect, overlook or remain indifferent to the needs of those around us. A compassionate heart can help us get our priorities right.
Prayer: Lord, grant us attentive eyes, that we may spot those who need our help, a compassionate heart to feel with them and a helping hand to assist them.
JESUS HEALS ON THE SABBATH: It was Jesus’ custom to go to synagogues on Sabbath to teach. There, people gathered to listen and be taught. Among the people on this day, was a man whose right hand was withered. This man came to listen to the teachings of Jesus. Also, there were Pharisees who came to seek faults in what Jesus said rather than listen to His teachings. There are people who go to church not to listen to the Word of God but for different purposes. Some go to encounter the Holy Spirit in order to be forgiven. Others still, go to look for the faults of others. Such are the people that find fault with the works of Jesus. What is the reason that makes you go to church?
POWER OF PATIENCE: Bantu people’s proverb says, “One who is patient consumes ripened fruits”. St. Paul explains clearly how he suffered for Jesus. If we look at St. Paul’s life we find that he suffered persecutions and insults, but he was patient and as a result, he could be victorious in life. In the Gospel of today we see that they we were trying to accuse him, “they might discover a reason” (Lk 6:7). The virtue of patience made St. Paul to evangelize many nations. We are in a world of “instant culture”, and we want things to be done for us instantly and we often lack patience to receive grace and to be successful in our lives. We pray to the Lord for the virtue of patience to carry our crosses and to follow Him in our day today Christian life.