MONDAY OF THE TWENTY-THIRD WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME
Brothers and sisters:
I am now rejoicing in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am completing what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church. I became its servant according to God’s commission that was given to me for you, to make the word of God fully known, the mystery that has been hidden throughout the ages and generations but has now been revealed to his saints. To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. It is he whom we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone in all wisdom, so that we may present everyone mature in Christ. For this I toil and struggle with all the energy that he powerfully inspires within me.
For I want you to know how much I am struggling for you, and for those in Laodicea, and for all who have not seen me face to face. I want their hearts to be encouraged and united in love, so that they may have all the riches of assured understanding and have the knowledge of God’s mystery, that is, Christ himself, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
Psalm 62:6-7, 9
For God alone my soul waits in silence, for my hope is from him.
He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be shaken. Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us.
On another sabbath he entered the synagogue and taught, and there was a man there whose right hand was withered. The scribes and the Pharisees watched him to see whether he would cure on the sabbath, so that they might find an accusation against him. Even though he knew what they were thinking, he said to the man who had the withered hand, “Come and stand here.” He got up and stood there. Then Jesus said to them, “I ask you, is it lawful to do good or to do harm on the sabbath, to save life or to destroy it?” After looking around at all of them, he said to him, “Stretch out your hand.” He did so, and his hand was restored. But they were filled with fury and discussed with one another what they might do to Jesus.
Yesterday we read the scriptures that say we must be accountable to our brothers when we see them in sin. If we want someone to be saved from sin, we have to do the difficult job of warning them when we see them in this danger even though we risk angering them. Today we see the mind of the Lord who wants to heal the man with the withered hand and ‘even though he knew what they (the Pharisees) were thinking’, Jesus takes the risk of angering them and heals the man on the sabbath day.
Recently we read about the disciples plucking the heads of grain in the field, violating the sabbath by doing work. Jesus corrected the Pharisees, “The Son of Man is Lord of the sabbath” and is demonstrating what the sabbath day was for. Again, Jesus is doing work but it is a work of mercy. It is most fitting to do this kind of work on the Lord’s day. Certainly we enter into the Lord’s rest when we experience the fruits of the kingdom of God, his mercy.
Do you need mercy today? Let the psalm speak to your heart:
“For God alone my soul waits in silence, for my hope is from him.
He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be shaken. Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us.”