By Jim Orcutt, Co-Founder of My Brother's Keeper

These personal reflections on the Monday gospel represent my insight of Christ’s message as viewed through the lens of my life experience. It is my hope that others will be inspired to reflect upon their views as well.
Date: September 9, 2019
September 9, 2019

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.

Reflection

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.

It may well have been that the man with the withered hand was a carpenter or stonemason who had injured himself while working. A withered hand would have prevented him from making a livelihood and supporting his family.

The scribes and Pharisees were more concerned about catching Jesus in what they considered to be an unlawful act (healing on the sabbath) rather than the plight of the man with the withered hand.

Jesus spoke truthfully about them when He said, “You blind guides, straining out a gnat and swallowing a camel!”  Matt 23:24

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?”

Two thousand years ago Jesus asked this question of people who were committed to observing the strict letter of the law.

Today, Jesus directs the question to us, “……is it lawful to do good on the sabbath rather than to do evil…?”

Recently, many local cities have passed a law against people panhandling (begging) in public.

Ironically, this law may put us in a position similar to that of Jesus and the man with the withered hand.

The city ordinances prohibit public begging. If we were to give to someone who was begging, would we be complicit in helping them break the law?

But Jesus said, “Give to everyone who begs from you.” (Luke 6:30)

If because of the law we decided not to help the person who begged, would we be refusing to do what Jesus told us to do?

Today’s gospel challenges me to look within myself.

Am I “watching closely” to see where others are doing wrong in the eyes of the law, or am I watching closely to see where I must do what is right “in the eyes of God.”

As Christians, we must look within our hearts.

“It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man.”  Psalm 118:8



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