Jesus spoke to the scholars of the law and Pharisees in reply, asking, “Is it lawful to cure on the sabbath or not?”
It would seem that the answer to such a question would be: “Of course! It’s always lawful to do good.” Sadly, we are told that such was not the case. We are told that “They were unable to answer his question.” They were unable to because their minds were closed to any way of interpreting the law but their own. Sad indeed!
We are given readings like this not to condemn the Pharisees for their hard-heartedness but to ask ourselves what areas in our lives are closed to the message of Jesus. Jesus says we should forgive without limit, love even our enemies, and do good to those who hate us. He tells us to give the cup of cold water in his name, to visit the sick and comfort the afflicted. His is always a message of mercy. Do we make strenuous efforts to live as Jesus asks us to live?
Jesus did not simply tell us to do what he was unwilling to do himself. He forgave those who crucified him. He poured out his love on the cross for everyone. He continues to nourish all those who come to him in need. He nurtures us throughout our lives with his body and blood in communion. We are only being asked to be aware of everything God has done — and continues to do — for each of us. And in gratitude for all this, imitate in our own lives what our Master asks of us.
Do we make an effort to live the values of Christ, or are we blind to its demands because of the hard-heartedness that is ours?
Let Us Pray:
O loving Lord, help me look for the challenge in each gospel passage. Let me never develop a closed mind to your teaching and whatever you ask of us.