January 17, 2018
Memorial of St. Anthony, Abbot
The Gospel Today
Jesus entered the synagogue.
There was a man there who had a withered hand.
They watched Jesus closely
to see if he would cure him on the sabbath
so that they might accuse him.
He said to the man with the withered hand,
“Come up here before us.”
Then he said to the Pharisees,
“Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath rather than to do evil,
to save life rather than to destroy it?”
But they remained silent.
Looking around at them with anger
and grieved at their hardness of heart,
Jesus said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.”
He stretched it out and his hand was restored.
The Pharisees went out and immediately took counsel
with the Herodians against him to put him to death.
Reflection (Sem. Glicerio T. Tano)
In the Gospel, the Pharisees regarded Jesus as violator of Sabbath. Jesus’ question, “Is it lawful to do good on the Sabbath rather than to do evil?” During our CPE last summer, I also experienced violating our purpose of visiting the patients in the hospital. Our main purpose was to be with the patients and to listen to their feelings and emotions. Unfortunately, I was not able to minister the patient but only the watcher. I asked myself during that moment if that would be an unlawful act of disregarding the guidelines from the Pastoral Office. I even felt that I disregarded my identity as a seminarian. I was thinking that I was not supposed to minister to the watcher because it was not part of our task in doing the apostolate in the hospital. I really struggled on how to respond to the watcher who shared to me her experiences and emotions. I was afraid if I would be caught by the Pastoral Office staff that I only ministered to the watcher while there were many patients who needed to be visited. But as I was having a conversation with the watcher, I felt that she had also a need to be ministered because it seemed she had problems that burdened her which affected her behavior while attending to the needs of her patient. So I did listen to her feelings and emotions and disregarded the fact that we have rules in the Pastoral Office in which we would only have to visit the patients. Like Jesus in the Gospel, He responded to the need of the person and disregarded the practice of the Pharisees during Sabbath day. Sometimes, we need to disregard the rules if we think that it hinders us to do our duty in this world, which is to do good unto others. Let us be silently drawn stronger pull of what we really love.