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itA reading from the holy Gospel according to Luke 6:6-11

On another Sabbath Jesus entered the synagogue and began teaching. There was a man with a paralyzed right hand and the teachers of the Law and the Pharisees watched him: Would Jesus heal the man on the Sabbath? If He did, they could accuse him. But Jesus knew their thoughts and said to the man, «Get up and stand in the middle». Then he spoke to them, «I want to ask you: what is allowed by the Law on the Sabbath, to do good or to do harm, to save life or destroy it?». And Jesus looked around at them all. Then He said to the man, «Stretch out your hand». He stretched it out and his hand was restored, becoming as whole as the other. But they were furious and began to discuss with one another how they could deal with Jesus.

REFLECTION: Stretch out your hand

The man with the withered hand must have seen many physicians and healers for his hand. And now here he was face to face with the healer everyone spoke about. Did the man go to the synagogue to pray and it happened that Jesus was there? Did the man go to the synagogue hoping to ask Jesus for a healing? Did the man know Jesus was God? Had he asked to be healed, had he come to the synagogue with hope he would be healed? Was he thinking that this time God would listen to him?

Jesus called him to come forward.

God summons and calls and asks each one of us to have faith in Him. The man was healed because he obeyed God.

We all know that God could have healed that man anytime and anywhere. The man was healed by the power of Christ's words, but he was also healed because he did exactly what was asked of him. He stretched out his hand . We grow in our spiritual life with the gentle prodding of the Holy Spirit and in the fruitfulness of our prayer life-- doing exactly what God has asked us to do to become more virtuous.

God wants all to be saints and we, many times, feel we have to be " pious hallow-faced heroes". Sainthood depends on us. We become saints with the graces given us, in the actions of small steps taken to lead a virtuous life--getting up in time for work, church, caring for the poor, feeding the homeless, and praying for others. But it is also how we treat one another-- with humility, gentleness and respect for others. Are we kind, jovial, caring to a stranger or the one whom no one invites or talks to, and do we lend a hand to a fellow coworker or family member? Do we worship and praise God from our heart or do we, as the Pharisees and Scribes, make prayer life so ritualistic that we don't have time to work on self righteousness, pride and envy?

In stretching out our hands, in blind faith to God, we work on our self will to stop our envy, sloth, laziness and greed. We are allowing the Holy Spirit to work within us for our sanctity.

PRAYER: Dearest, Lord, I stretch out my hand to you, knowing that you want nothing bad for me but only good. Let me, in the solitude of my soul, give you my will to mold it into your will. In Jesus' name, I ask for this. Amen.

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