There are a few passages in the Gospels describing Jesus as angry. Today’s passage from Mark is one of them. Jesus knew that the Pharisees were out to get him. Theirs was a strict observance of the Law with all its minutiae governing every aspect of the life of a Jew.
The scene is set here for another encounter. A man with a withered hand wants to be cured. Jesus looked at the Pharisees and asked them if it was better on the Sabbath to heal or let someone continue to suffer. They have no response, and, looking at them with anger, he cures the man.
Jesus’ ministry was inclusive, welcoming all who came to him; he ate with people considered by the Law to be “unclean.” He healed and gave hope to those struggling. His was a message of life. Without changing the Law, he saw how a pastoral approach would better serve the people who came to him. A symbol that became prominent a few years ago, WWJD (what would Jesus do?), tried to capture the “pastoral” spirit of Jesus.
Pope Francis has attempted to model this approach of Jesus. Could there be a way in which divorced and re-married Catholics could find nourishment in the Eucharist? While not changing the Law, Francis opted to relate to members of the LGBPT+ in a loving, affirming, and caring way. This approach has angered those of our faith whose orientation is strict adherence to the law.
The Lord bids us to be open, welcoming, and forgiving when we gather around the Eucharistic table. All of us who gather are sinners who the Lord welcomes. Our relations with our fellow sinners should model Jesus’s relationship to us – love.
Let Us Pray:
Jesus, your ministry on earth was one of openness to all, welcoming sinners and those searching for hope and meaning. You desired that your Church would continue this openness and love. As we are the Church, give us an abundance of grace to greet and treat everyone we meet as though they are you, for they indeed are. Amen.