FRIENDS and SERVANTS of the WORD
Wednesday, January 23, 2019
Week 2 of Ordinary Time
WORD of the DAY
Again he entered the synagogue. There was a man there who had a withered hand. They watched him 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 them, “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, he 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. (Mark 3: 1-6)
How shall I live this Word?
In the place where the Jews of the Diaspora gather and recognize themselves as a people in celebrating the ancestral cult, the presence of the sick, the crippled, the blind, those who were burdened by life were under the sign of tolerance. It was the same liberating God, the one revered in the Temple of Jerusalem, where a crowd of desperate people lay near the five porticoes of the pool of Betzata (Jn 5: 2g.), lying in the warmth of a superstitious hope. It is not surprising that the sanctity of a synagogue welcomed a poor man with a withered hand, right there where the magnificence of God was celebrated. The condition of the poor man did not escape the teacher of Nazareth: only He was aware of this fragile and anonymous human being living on the margins. That hand was a provocation, a bait to see how far the Law would be passed over to make room for the miraculous. Tension is high, the words of Jesus would be weighed on a very sensitive scale … The soul of the Lord is shaken: anger and sadness are an expression of His rich humanity … But the evil, ever threatening and premeditated, suffered and accepted to the end, cannot shrink the heart of Jesus. In that command – “stretch out your hand!” – there is the return of the man’s freedom, and a firm and strong hand that signs His condemnation. The life given for another is the highest expression of doing good.
The weight of evil provoked by people or situations sometimes risks to crush us. With the Lord’s grace, however, I am able to support it with love and dissolve its power. Sometimes, a little is enough, a wise word that touches the heart can change destiny and write a new story. We must be there and not retreat.
THE VOICE OF G. Vasari
In the Sistine Chapel, God gives His right hand to Adam, a figure of beauty, of quality, surrounded by beauty that seems to be made by the highest and first Creator rather than by the paintbrush and design of another human being.
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Comment by Fr. Enrico Emili