I have to hand it to the Pharisees. In fact, I’d like to nominate these guys for the “Missing The Point Award” (just assume, for the sake of argument, that there is such an award). When Jesus healed the man with the withered hand (Mt 12:9-13, Mk 3:1-6, Lk 6:6-11), the Pharisees got so bent out of shape that the healing took place on the Sabbath that they completely ignored the miracle! How could they be so blind?
Unfortunately, friends, you and I do the same thing each day. While the Pharisees may have been a lot more radical about their positions, we all manage to overlook Jesus’ work in our life on a daily basis. How so? Let me give you a few examples:
“That guy? He’s a jerk…I’m glad I’m not like him. He doesn’t even go to church on Sunday.”
“Boy, am I lucky that I got that new job.”
“I know I’m a Catholic, but no pope can tell me what to do in the bedroom. Thank God for birth control pills! If I listened to that old man, I’d have so many kids that I’d go broke!”
The problem with the above statements is that they exhibit the same kind of blindness practiced by the Pharisees. Despite having some major flaws, Mr. “Jerk” could be very kind and loving to his elderly parents. The ”luck” involved in getting your new job very well may have come about due to the prayers of your deceased relatives and God’s providence. Jesus can and does continue to speak directly though that “old man” (who I like to lovingly and respectfully refer to as the Holy Father). By choosing to be closed- minded, we often miss the actions of the Lord in our lives.
The moral of the story is, if you’re going to be like the Pharisees, choose to imitate their love for God’s law. However, unlike them, make sure you LIVE that law. That includes loving your neighbor and always trying to see good in them. It also includes obeying the voice of Jesus in His Catholic Church, even when you may not fully understand all of her teachings.
For more observations about the healing of the Man with the Withered Hand, listen to today’s Following The Truth podcast: