And they asked him, “Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath?” so that they might accuse him.
The Pharisees were looking for ways to trap Jesus so they might have reason to put Him to death. When the moment presents itself they pose their question to Jesus and watch. They want to catch him in the act of…what exactly? Of restoring a person to wholeness? Showing mercy? This phenomenal healing by Jesus didn’t even register with the Pharisees, their eyes were too fixed upon finding fault to condemn him that they miss the working of God in their midst.
Sometimes we can be like the Pharisees and miss the point of God working in our lives as we settle for the rules. Now rules in themselves are good, but when we are so stringent in our observance that we don’t see the needs of those around us, we may need to readjust our focus, with lenses of compassion and mercy.
Let us ask the Lord to assist us today, to see the needs around us and to act with compassion and mercy, like Jesus.
May God bless you!
“Go and tell John what you hear and see…”
In the movie industry, the best promotion for a new release is the audience itself. Go on Twitter and search a film title and you can get a good sense of what people are saying about it. Talk to a friend that recently saw a movie and if they liked it, they are probably going to be sure you know about it! In Matthew, chapter 11, we have followers of John the Baptist coming to Jesus with one question: “Are you the one?”
Jesus responds to the inquirers to observe what is going on around them and “Go and tell John.” Jesus gives them permission to preach the good news! It’s easy to imagine John’s disciples returning to him with excitement to what they saw and heard! And what about us? What have we seen and heard about Jesus? Are we excited to share the ‘good news’ with others?
Let us ask the Lord Jesus to show us how to live for Him, that we may be mindful of what we spend time talking about, that we may seek ways to share our faith, so as to build up our brothers and sisters to more readily put their trust in him.
May God bless you!
In our gospel reading today, we come across three healing stories: The synagogue ruler and his daughter; the hemorrhaging woman; and the two blind men. Barclay’s commentary (p. 340) suggests that these recipients of Jesus’ powers came to him with imperfect intentions. Let’s look at each one for a moment:
- The synagogue ruler came to Jesus after trying every other kind of treatment for his daughter. It was only after those failed that he saw Jesus as his last resort. He comes to Jesus with an imperfect motive; he didn’t come out of love for Jesus, but because he had no where else to turn.
- The woman with the 12-year hemorrhage felt the need to touch Jesus in order to be healed of her affliction. This need to touch him can be interpreted as a kind of superstition, or an inadequate faith.
- The two blind men call Jesus ‘Son of David’, which could be interpreted as perhaps, a political title. Did they think Jesus would be the conquering war hero to free them from the oppressive Romans? They came to Jesus with a very poor conception of who Jesus is.
All of them approach Jesus in an inadequate way and yet all encounter His love. None of them were fully open to the divine mystery that was before them, yet, Jesus met them where they were. We can learn two lessons here.
The first, don’t wait until your life perfectly put together to come to Jesus. He is ready to receive us in our current state.
The second lesson, we cannot judge another’s motivation, state of faith, nor if their concept of Jesus is mistaken. Jesus is ready to take us in, even when we are not properly disposed to receive him fully.
Let us approach our Lord, recognizing our weaknesses, trusting that Jesus will meet us as we are and transform us to what we ought to be. Amen
May God bless you!
“Do not be anxious about tomorrow…Let the day’s own trouble be sufficient for the day.”
It’s easy for us to get caught up in our worries about what the future will bring. Abram worried too. In the book of Genesis we read how he feared for the future, thinking he would not have an heir to carry on the family line. Yet, in the nature of his worry, he overcame it through believing and trusting in the word of God. We read (Genesis 15:5-6):
“And the Lord brought Abram outside and said, “Look toward heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your descendants be.” And Abram believed the Lord; and he reckoned it to him as righteousness.
Abram had a justified concern for the future, but he was able to pull away from his worry, place it in God’s hands, and trust. We can imagine the echo of Jesus’ words of God’s care in the story:
- Look at the birds of the air…your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?
- Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow…even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.
- …your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.
The saints are heroic examples for us, having a capacity of trust in the midst of trial, roadblocks, opposition and persecution. One such saint was Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska, the polish Sister who was instructed by Jesus to paint the image of the Divine Mercy. At the foot of the image the following words are written: “Jesus, I trust in You!”
Lord Jesus, we do trust you, we want to place all our worry and concern into your loving heart. Take them, and transform them to a mountain of faith.
May God bless you!
1 Chronicles 27-28
“As for me, I know that my Redeemer lives,
And at the last He will take His stand on the earth. – Job 19:25
Job protests the treatment he receives from his so called ‘friends’, and despite what he describes as an abandonment by God, he still testifies to his faith in God as the one who redeems.
To ‘redeem’ is to buy back, or to make up for the lack or wrong-doing of a person. We hear today Stephen, in the Book of Acts, telling of the sin of the people Israel, who chose to reject God and the consequences of that choice. And yet, despite the times when we too reject God, he waits in the wings for us to turn back to Him that we may be saved.
Job understood this. He placed all of his hope in that future event – the one we know all too well when we look upon the Cross of Christ – that even in the misery of Job’s current state, he would be at peace because God promised to redeem him and his people. May we have the patience of Job, and his faith, to approach the setbacks of life with courage, putting all of our trust in our future – a future bought and paid for by the blood of Jesus Christ.
May God bless you.