Jesus Broke the Law...?
Gospel Reflection for September 5, 2022
Do you ever catch yourself thinking like a Pharisee, perhaps by judging others according to the moral law and to the rules of the Church? Do you mentally criticize others for their sins and find yourself thinking, or even feeling, that you are a bit spiritually superior?
In today’s Gospel, the Pharisees stare Jesus up and down, looking for something—anything—in His words or actions that they can use to accuse Him. It was the sabbath, and according to the law, work was forbidden on that day. Jesus, however, while teaching in the synagogue, told a man with a withered hand to stand up before everyone.
“Then Jesus said to them, ‘I ask you, is it lawful to do good on the sabbath rather than to do evil, to save life rather than to destroy it?’ Looking around at them all, he then said to him, ‘Stretch out your hand.’ He did so and his hand was restored.” (Luke 6:9-10 NABRE)
The Pharisees became enraged because Jesus had broken the law. They judged Him severely because He had worked on the sabbath. Why would He do that??
Jesus was teaching that the highest and greatest law is love. Yes, we must follow the rules of the Church and strive always to obey the moral law, but in our eagerness for following the law, we should never let our love for others grow cold. If we judge and criticize others based on how closely they adhere to the rules of the Church, we will be like the Pharisees who lacked love and mercy for sinners and those in need. Jesus was teaching that love must always come first. We must remember that we are sinners too, and we must love and show mercy towards others as Jesus loved and showed mercy towards the man with the withered hand.