The Gospel Today
Wednesday of the Second Week in Ordinary Time
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. Ernesto Sican):
It is easy to notice what is wrong with others. It is easy to criticize them rather than give our appreciation. We are programmed as if to see the dark side of others rather than seeing their bright side. We are good in fault finding than appreciating what others have done.
Today’s gospel reminds us of how Jesus was disappointed with such behavior. Jesus was deeply saddened because of the close mindedness of the Pharisees. They were blinded by their prejudices and biases which prevented them to go beyond their limited thinking and proud disposition. They became so legalistic with regard to the law that they would follow the letters of the law rather than allowing the spirit of the law to take precedence. Thus, they ended up rigid, constricted, restrained instead of being compassionate, gentle and free. Their over emphasis to the law curtailed their capacity to grow in sensitivity and gentleness toward other people. They failed to consider the law of love.
While Jesus condemns the Pharisees and I suppose we are one with Him, it is also good to examine ourselves for we may possess the same attitude or have the tendency to be such. In our working place for example, how do we react when our boss promotes a fellow employee who is new to the company? Are we happy or deep inside we are in flame because we feel we are more qualified and deserve the promotion? We may have all the arguments and facts to prove that we are more deserving than the rest. We may be objectively correct, but the Boss has the final say. In this situation, some would covertly destroy the reputation of the boss or the promoted employee and some would resort to formal complaint. Some would demand for justice and fairness. Can we not rejoice for other people’s advancement and achievement? Can we not go out of our self-centered pre-occupation? There are many good reasons to enjoy and celebrate life than looking for things to satisfy our egoistic desires.