Jesus entered the synagogue.
There was a man there who had a withered hand.
They watched Jesus closely
to see if he would cure him on the sabbath
so that they might accuse him.
He said to the man with the withered hand,
"Come up here before us."
Then he said to the Pharisees,
"Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath rather than to do evil,
to save life rather than to destroy it?"
But they remained silent.
Looking around at them with anger
and grieved at their hardness of heart,
Jesus said to the man, "Stretch out your hand."
He stretched it out and his hand was restored.
The Pharisees went out and immediately took counsel
with the Herodians against him to put him to death.
Jesus came to this earth to spread the message of God’s immense love. His actions demonstrating this are chronicled throughout the Gospels. He willed the healing of this man’s hand, even in the face of the controversy stirred up by the Pharisees. Everything Jesus does is done with love. Love in essence is the willing of good for another person (taken from a teaching in OK Technology by Father Michael on 10-18-16). He cares so deeply for all souls that even though the Pharisees had ill intent and hardness in their hearts, He never ceased willing good for those in need.
As our family reflected on this Gospel reading, we realized that we are all faced with the choice to do good or evil, to save a life or to destroy one. As Jesus grieved the hardness of the Pharisees hearts, we talked about how He grieves for us when we make the choices that cause our hearts to harden. If you look up the word “grieved”, you will see some of its synonyms include, “hurt”, “wound”, and “pain”. This is just one example of the suffering Jesus endured. Throughout His ministry here on earth, Jesus would be hurt and wounded by many.
Our priests take on this ministry. They listen to their call to serve, following Jesus and allow Him to work through them. Jesus left us a treasure with this vocation. The first reading today touches on the Priesthood of Jesus. Here is what Saint John Paul II says about the priesthood: “In persona Christi capitis in ecclesiae – In the person of Christ, the Head, in the Church.” St. John Paul II explains the true essence of the priesthood in his post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation, Pastores Dabo Vobis, as follows: “The priest finds the full truth of his identity in being a derivation, a specific participation in and continuation of Christ Himself, the one High Priest of the new and eternal covenant. The Priest is a living and transparent image of Christ, The Priest.... Reference to Christ is thus the absolute necessary key for understanding the reality of the priesthood.”
Our priests are under attack throughout the world. Praise God that we have good people here in this world that know how to love. We can show our love by willing good for all of our priests. Please join our PAPA family and save a life by praying the “PAPA Prayer for Priests”. (Click here for the link.)
May God bless us all!