Monday, September 5, 2011
Stretch Out Your Hand (Luke 6:10)
"But they were furious and began to discuss with one another what they might do to Jesus" (Luke 6:11)
Today’s Gospel is the second controversial story in Luke 6. It's the Sabbath and Jesus enters the synagogue to preach and teach. The Scribes and the Pharisees have their eyes fixed on Jesus, not to learn something from him, but to find some fault in him. Luke tells us that in the congregation there sat a man whose right hand was withered. Jesus is the God of compassion and mercy. The man did not ask to be healed, but the charitable heart of Christ saw the man’s need for bodily restoration and he healed him. Jesus was unafraid of the Pharisees and Scribes, and knowing what was in their heart and mind, he puts this question to them just before the miracle can take place, “which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to destroy it?” (Luke 6:9)
The Pharisees had sight but were blind to the miracle that was before them. However the crippled man saw a mighty Healer. Sometimes we are just like these blind Pharisees. The Lord has set before us every blessing and grace, but we just don’t see it or appreciate it. One of the great qualities of holy people is that they are aware of what is going on around them. They possess grateful hearts that sing in the rain as well as in sunshine. Even the tiniest flower blooming on a weed brings joy to their hearts and a song of praise on their lips. They see the hand of God in every created thing.
Prayer makes us aware! Prayer opens our eyes to see the glory of God’s creation. The saint, the poet, the author, and the musician become aware of the divine presence in all things. No one is more aware than the person whose heart is completely open to God in prayer. When the God of love fills our being, we become more sensitive to all things, especially the hurts, yearnings, and needs of our brethren. It’s something about God’s love that gives us a heart like his, a heart full of compassion and mercy toward humanity. The scribes and Pharisees failed to see any of this. Life was within their reach but they were too distracted by what could not bring them life. They were so concerned about the various laws that they never heard or saw any good in what Jesus was saying or doing.
Let us not be like those stone cold scribes and Pharisees. Let us rid ourselves of everything that does not belong to the kingdom of heaven. Anger, resentment, jealousy, un-forgiveness of past hurts and pride don’t fit a child of God. Let us come closer to God through prayer and contemplation, asking him to break these shackles that bind us.
"Lord, forgive me for not being appreciative of the numerous graces and mercies you have bestowed upon me. Open the eyes of my mind Lord, to see the needs of suffering humanity and attend to them."