“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.” // Mark 3:5
We are two weeks into ordinary time and already in today’s Gospel of Mark, we see the Pharisees trying to corner Jesus in breaking the law of the sabbath. This is the same Jesus Whose birth everyone was greatly anticipating; the Messiah for Whom we sang, “Hark! The Angels Sing” in unison as one Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church a couple of weeks ago.
I am reminded how quickly my own heart turns when I am in the parish parking lot, trying to get my kids to stop arguing over whose foot is touching the other person’s foot in the car. I may not be outwardly breaking the sabbath law, but I may as well be if I have just received Holy Communion and am acting in a way that doesn’t reflect that.
The Pharisees’ loveless obsession with meticulously following the law had corrupted their ability to be merciful, compassionate, and loving towards their neighbor. We are like the Pharisees when we receive Jesus in Holy Communion, but close our hearts towards others when Mass has ended.
We rush to the parking lot to be the first ones out so we don’t have to wait in a long car line or rush to get donuts after Mass so we aren’t left without a maple bar, only to skip it altogether since the line is too long.
Jesus asks them, “Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath rather than to do evil, to save life rather than to destroy it?” (Mark 3:4) Jesus is always turning the unlawfulness of our hearts towards good.
He shows that His mercy doesn’t cease on the sabbath. “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” (Mark 3:5). Jesus shows us the kind of love that we as humans couldn’t have learned through our own efforts.
Abba, help me stretch out my hand today out of love for You. Remove the unlawful parts in my heart and stretch out my hand to receive Your love. Amen.His mercy doesn’t cease. // Mytae Carrasco Wallace Click To Tweet