Again Jesus entered the synagogue, and a man was there who had a withered hand. They watched him to see whether he would cure him on the sabbath, so that they might accuse him. And he said to the man who had the withered hand, "Come forward." Then he said to them, "Is it lawful to do good or to do harm on the sabbath, to save life or to kill?" But they were silent. He looked around at them with anger; he was grieved at their hardness of heart and said to the man, "Stretch out your hand." He stretched it out, and his hand was restored. The Pharisees went out and immediately conspired with the Herodians against him, about how to destroy him.
Today is Wednesday the 23 January, in the Second Week of Ordinary Time.
One Hope Project sing, ‘Abba Father’.
Today’s reading is from the Gospel of Mark.
The Pharisees, the scripture tells us, were hard of heart.How did their hearts become hardened?Whatever it was that happened to them, is it a danger for us too?
We also hear that Jesus is angry with the Pharisees – he looks at them “with anger”.Can you imagine his face, the look he gives them?What makes you angry like that?What makes you angry enough to do something about it, to speak or to act, to change things?
Notice the strength of the opposition building up against Jesus.From the very moment he entered the synagogue, “they watched him to see whether he would cure him on the Sabbath, so that they might accuse him”.The opposition was organised.Dramatic too and extraordinary is the alliance between the religious Pharisees and the political, time-serving followers of Herod: together they conspire to destroy him.As you listen again, ask yourself, what is it about Jesus that they are so afraid of?
We don’t get a picture of a soft Jesus from this passage, do we?How do you feel about the angry Jesus depicted here, the Jesus that seemed such a threat to these people that they wanted to destroy him?Can you relate to this Jesus, can you talk to him now, perhaps about the things that make you angry, or the opposition you face?