Monday of the Twenty-third Week in Ordinary Time
On a certain sabbath, Jesus went into the synagogue and taught. (Lk 6:6a)
Let us go in with him. Let us hear what he has to say. Yet, today it is not so much what he says but what he does that is the lesson. Who is there in the synagogue? There was a man there whose right hand was withered. (Luke 6:6b) Jesus takes notice of him. There are also scribes and Pharisees, and they take notice of Jesus. They want to entrap; Jesus wants to free. They see Jesus as a threat to their authority. And rightly so, for Jesus would point out their hypocrisy (see Lk 11:46), which would undermine anyone’s authority. They do not live as they teach. They do not walk in truth.
Jesus knows their intentions (see Lk 6:8a), so what does he do? He does not keep quiet, nor does he hang low. He calls out to the lowliest man in the room: “Come up and stand before us.” (Lk 6:8b) Jesus calls out to us, firmly but with kindness in his voice. “Come up and stand before us.” Oh no, but we have withered hands, sins, and shortcomings! How embarrassing. He calls again, encouraging us, “Come up and stand before us.” We give in, and go up and stand beside Jesus.
He looks around at them, those who are wanting to trip him up, and he asks them a clever question: “I ask you, is it lawful to do good on the sabbath rather than to do evil, to save life rather than to destroy it?” (Lk 6:9) They say nothing, for fear of the people, but Jesus says to us, “Stretch out your hand.” (Lk 6:10) We are beginning to believe in this man of God and his authority. So, with a believing heart, we stretch out our infirmity, and…what do you want to happen next?
Reflection by Br. Luke Kral, OSB