Am I right or self- righteous? Wednesday, 2nd Week in ordinary time – Mark 3:1-6

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In Mark 1:21 Jesus entered the synagogue in Capernaum. Now, the scriptures mention that he has entered “the synagogue again.” Looking at the text in its sequence, it seems like a week has passed since the previous verse. In Mark 2:23-28, the preceding passage, we are told that it was the sabbath (Mark 2:23). At the end of that sabbath incident, Jesus asserted that “the sabbath was made for humankind and not humankind for the sabbath.” He also asserted that he is the “Lord of the Sabbath.” Now as if to reiterate a point, St Mark tells us of another narrative in the synagogue of Capernaum, one sabbath later. This time it is clear that the hostility has built up against Jesus for Mark emphatically tells us that “they watched him” (3:2) “so that they might accuse him.”

Our actions should never be brash or with the intent to deliberately cause scandal. However, if done with a clear conscience, then public opinion should not sway us nor influence the good that we would like to do even if it displeases many. In this case, Jesus had asserted his stance on the role of the Sabbath and now once again an act of kindness and mercy was required for a man with a withered hand who was in the synagogue. Once again Jesus appeals to common sense. “Is it lawful to do good or to do harm on the sabbath? To save life or to kill it?”

A heart that beats, does not need to be prompted to answer rightly. Sadly, those in the synagogue that day had become religious extremists if not liturgical terrorist. For them, the law surpassed love; rigidity took precedence over humanity! They knew that Jesus was right but they did not want to give up their right to hold a religious law that they held slavishly. This was their chance for slavish shackles to be broken but they chose the chains of religious rigidity. Scripture tells them they were silent to the question asked by Jesus when in fact applause should have been the response.

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