Today’s Gospel: Luke 6:6-11
Is it lawful to do good, even on a day like today?
There are certain days for certain rituals. Sabbath is one for observant Jews, no less than Sunday is for Catholics. Given what happened on September 11, 2001, today is one such day as well. I began theology in DC on this day. I passed the Pentagon within 20 minutes of its attack. I had my first cell phone, but was unable to reach out to contact my wife in VA or our families in Manhattan to find out what was going on. That day I heard one of the shortest homilies of my life: “It is difficult to preach the Good News on a day like today.”
Today, Jesus encounters a man with a withered hand in the synagogue on the Sabbath. His critics watch closely to see what He will do. Will he violate Sabbath law? While Jesus’ enemies sought to frame him as sacrilegious, Jesus directs His attention toward the value of the human person.
In Matthew’s account, Jesus asks if someone’s sheep falls into a pit on the Sabbath, is that man forbidden from rescuing it? Jesus points out that if it’s lawful to do good toward an animal on the Sabbath, how much more so toward a person? Instead of upholding the prohibition not to do work on the Sabbath, Jesus asks instead, “Is it lawful to do good?” More pointedly, in the accounts of Mark and Luke, Jesus asks, “Is it lawful to save a life rather than destroy it?”
Today is a day to remember that God wills us to be made whole. God commands us to reach out, not to break the law but to testify to the power of Good in the world. Even (or especially) on a day like today.
Are there people in situations that you prefer to keep at arm’s length? Is it possible for you to reach out to them instead and do some good today?
Today I am withered, but You command me to reach out. Guide me to be Your instrument of your goodness, especially on a day like today.
Copyright 2017 Jay Cuasay
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