Monday of the 23rd week in the ordinary time

Theme: The spirit of the law

In any given situation, Jesus will always point out the fact that human life is priceless and should be treated as such. We see that again today in our gospel reading. The Scribes and Pharisees were more concerned with the keeping of the Sabbath, as against the healing of the sick man. They wanted to know whether Jesus will go against the Sabbath and heal the man with the withered hand. Jesus was not deterred because of their presence and position as it concerns the Sabbath; rather he showed pity on the sick man and restored his withered hand. This his action made the Scribes and Pharisees very angry against him. Jesus used the opportunity to teach them that sometimes we have to go beyond the letters of the law to the spirit of the law. The spirit of the law is centred on love and the dignity of the human person. Laws are not meant to enslave us, but rather to liberate us. The law is made for man and not man for the law.

My brothers and sisters in Christ, we have a lot to learn from the action of Jesus in today’s gospel, given our own environment. He did not allow what the people around think about the Sabbath to stop him from carrying out a good act; he went ahead and restored the sick man. In the same way, as children of God, we have to try and imbibe this spirit of Jesus that goes ahead to do what is right; even when we stand alone, just like Jesus in today’s gospel. What is good is good, irrespective of the number of people that believes and accepts it. Sometimes we are more concerned about what those around think about our action, and we end up not doing what is right that we would have loved to do in a given situation.  We have to draw strength from the action of Jesus today, by not allowing what other people think stop us from performing a good action that respects human dignity.

Dearly beloved in Christ, if we can do this, it may be easier for us to accept and work with the admonition of St. Paul to the church at Corinth, as it concerns living a decent and good life that is good and acceptable to God almighty. He admonishes us to let go our old way of life that breeds malice and evil, and embrace a new way of life that is built on sincerity and truth. May almighty God bless you as you do this in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. Peace be with you.

Monday of the 23rd week in the ordinary time, by Fr. Jude Ifeanyi Ifezime, C.S.Sp