At every turn, it seems, the religious leaders are looking for ways to trap Jesus. Even in the Synagogue, on the Sabbath, they were plotting and conniving. They want to catch Jesus breaking the Mosaic Law to discredit him. In showing compassion to a man with a withered hand, Jesus defends life-giving action on the Sabbath, versus corruption and malice.
Do we sometimes get caught up in the letter of the law, by sitting on the sidelines of our communities, judging the way others are conducting themselves, or do we embrace the intention behind the law, actively bringing the love of God to others, not counting the cost?
On the seventh day of creation God rested. The Sabbath day is a day for worshiping God, and it is a day of rest and recreation for us. Interestingly, the word recreation has, as its root in English, the meaning of refreshing, or curing of the sick. The Latin root of this word is to create or bring forth. On the day of rest, Jesus heals the sick and gives life.
We read in the Gospel of Mark that ‘the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath’ (Mk 2:27) As Catholics, we come together to worship and give thanks; to receive Jesus, to be reconciled to him and to be re-created so that we can be Jesus, broken and poured out for others.
On this day when we remember the terrible events that took place in our skies on September 11, twenty-two years ago, we will remember scenes of terror and scenes of heroism; scenes of tragedy and scenes of grace. We saw humanity at its worst and at its best. We remember people helping people, we were united. We saw compassion and sacrifice. First responders who rushed into buildings and sacrificed themselves to save the lives of others, held nothing back.
For whom are you called to be the first responder? Is there someone who needs your compassion, whose body, soul, and spirit can be lifted and consoled by your healing touch, by your care and attention? Who is Jesus bringing to mind? Is there a sacrifice that he is asking you to make?
Maybe it is you who needs physical or spiritual healing. May Jesus take you by the hand, give you peace and make you a new creation.