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.
Today is Monday the 9 September, the feast of St Peter Claver SJ, in the 23rd week of Ordinary Time.
One Hope Project sings, ‘My Soul Rests’.
Today’s reading is from the Gospel of Luke.
Jesus takes seriously the individual in need: this man with a disability that would mean he could not work and support himself with dignity. The ministry of Jesus is personal. He responds with compassion to the individual in need. As he does so often, he also uses the opportunity to question a corruption of religious ideals. The compassion of Jesus means he also challenges structures that oppress people.
As the theologian Marcus Borg points out, “Jesus is both personal and political.” The consequences of Jesus’ prophetic approach are serious. Opposition to him is growing. If you were there in that synagogue, what would you say to him after this incident? What look would you give him?
As you listen again, notice where you want to be in the scene and where your sympathies lie.
What do you want to say to this Jesus who makes such good friends and such dangerous enemies?