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SEPTEMBER 6. Ord Time B. Wk 23. Mon. Lk 6. 6-11

On the sabbath Jesus went into the synagogue and began to teach, and a man was there whose right hand was withered. The scribes and the Pharisees were watching him to see if he would cure a man on the sabbath, hoping to find something to use against him. But he knew their thoughts; and he said to the man with the withered hand, ‘Stand up! Come out into the middle.’ And he came out and stood there. Then Jesus said to them, ‘I put it to you: is it against the law on the sabbath to do good, or to do evil; to save life, or to destroy it?’ Then he looked round at them all and said to the man, ‘Stretch out your hand.’ He did so, and his hand was better. But they were furious, and began to discuss the best way of dealing with Jesus.

It is interesting to contrast the intentions of Jesus and the scribes and Pharisees while in the synagogue. Jesus was clearly there to teach, but why were the scribes and Pharisees there?

We are told in very clear language; - “The Scribes and Pharisees were there to watch Jesus, to see if he would cure a man on the sabbath; - hoping to find something against him!”

And then we have the intention of the man with the withered hand; - he was there to pray for a cure to his condition, which is one of the reasons the synagogue, and our churches today, exist; - to allow people to come before God for worship and prayer.

Jesus’ motivation for being in the synagogue was legitimate, as was the motivation of the man with the withered hand; - but the last thing on the Pharisees mind was to worship or to give glory to God; - they were there to protect and satisfy their own interests and ambitions.

And Jesus used this opportunity to reveal this to both the crowd and the Pharisees themselves; - who had decreed it was unlawful to cure a man on the sabbath.

He called the man with the withered hand and told him to stand in the centre of the crowd, and then he turned to the people; - “‘I put it to you: is it against the law on the sabbath to do good, or to do evil; to save life, or to destroy it?’

Apparently, there was no response to this question, and so Jesus said to the man; “Stretch out your hand” and suddenly it had been cured!

As a result, we are told “the Pharisees were furious!” and they immediately began to discuss how they would “deal with Jesus!”

It is interesting to ponder just why they were furious as this is where their motivation for being in the synagogue is made evident; - they were focused on their own interests!

This is in contrast to Jesus’ motivation, as he was there to teach and to heal, and he was without any personal interest or ambition.

The Pharisees were there motivated by self-love; - while Jesus was there motivated solely by love of God and neighbour!

Christians today continue to be influenced by each of these motivations ; -so we have to be careful and discerning; -the Pharisees are not alone in being motivated by self-love!

Gospel Acclamation Jn 10. 27

Alleluia, alleluia!

My sheep listen to my voice, says the Lord;

I know them, and they follow me.


First reading Colossians 1:24-2:3 ·

God's message was a mystery hidden for generations

It makes me happy to suffer for you, as I am suffering now, and in my own body to do what I can to make up all that has still to be undergone by Christ for the sake of his body, the Church. I became the servant of the Church when God made me responsible for delivering God’s message to you, the message which was a mystery hidden for generations and centuries and has now been revealed to his saints. It was God’s purpose to reveal it to them and to show all the rich glory of this mystery to pagans. The mystery is Christ among you, your hope of glory: this is the Christ we proclaim, this is the wisdom in which we thoroughly train everyone and instruct everyone, to make them all perfect in Christ. It is for this I struggle wearily on, helped only by his power driving me irresistibly.

Yes, I want you to know that I do have to struggle hard for you, and for those in Laodicea, and for so many others who have never seen me face to face. It is all to bind you together in love and to stir your minds, so that your understanding may come to full development, until you really know God’s secret in which all the jewels of wisdom and knowledge are hidden.

Note: When Paul says he is suffering "for you" he is talking to the people. His sufferings are in reparation for their sins, and his own. "I do all that has to be undergone by Christ for the sake of his body, the Church". Like Christ, his Church (his mystical body) has to suffer in atonement for sin, so obviously we, his members, also have to suffer! What is the alternative? That we lead a life of comfort, while our teacher and saviour suffered? No, while on this earth we too have to suffer, in imitation of Christ, and we have to do so willingly; - generously embracing the sufferings allocated to us by the Father; - just as Christ did!!

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