“So they watched him closely to see if he would heal him on the Sabbath. Jesus said to the man with the shriveled hand, “Stand up in front of everyone.”Then Jesus asked them, “Which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?” But they remained silent. He looked around at them in anger and, deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts, said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and his hand was completely restored. Then the Pharisees went out and began to plot with the Herodians how they might kill Jesus.” (Mark Ch.3)
Picture this scene. This man who probably sits in the back of the synagogue because he’s been tormented so many times by others and is now afraid to sit anywhere else. This man who undoubtably has been ridiculed and laughed at so many times, has now been asked by Jesus to walk to the front of the synagogue and must face all those who may have persecuted him. Jesus shines light on his vulnerability and helps him to face his fears, to have hope that Jesus the Christ can help him.
Imagine the embarrassment and fear he’s facing and feelings he walks to the front. He has no idea what Jesus will say or do, so Jesus comforts and reassures the disabled man by calling out exactly what He plans to do. Heal the man’s shriveled hand. Many may not know the history of this man’s life. What he has had to endure because of his disability. Perhaps he was born with the afflicted hand. Maybe he endured a horrible accident. The man was brave, though, to step forward in front of the entire assembly. He trusted Christ Jesus with his heart, with his body. He had a very strong faith in Christ. His hope too, was very strong. The man was asked to expose his “brokenness” in order to receive the Mercy and Healing that Christ Jesus wanted for him. Jesus also had to face the bunch that were attempting to keep this man ostracized. There was no empathy or compassion in their hearts for others. They have become to wrapped up with the Law.
They lost sight in the fact that “the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath”, meaning God’s love is to help us become His children and accept the grace that He presents us as gift. The Sabbath is not for those in charge to condemn us or keep us from experiencing all of God’s gifts. They became jury and judge instead of being examples of mercy, compassion and forgiveness. Examples of God’s peace.
The man with the withered hand was called by Christ to confront his personal fears and when he did he found healing in the arms of Jesus. We who are disabled must often confront our fears. Perhaps those fears are from those who make fun of us or ridicule us. Maybe it’s due to those who attempt to keep us down by not allowing us to share our gifts with others. Christ Jesus knows our struggles with daily life. Remember they laughed at Christ as well. They turned away from Him when they didn’t understand His teachings on love, mercy and forgiveness or being kind to the lowly, the outcast, and the alien. He remained strong, understanding that there will always be people that want to keep us who have so much to offer the world hidden from society. See yourself in the man with the withered hand. See yourself confronting your fears. See yourself in the arms of pure Love. The Holy Trinity will live in your heart. The gifts within your heart will find expression. Those that come into your life will be touched and renewed in the love, compassion and mercy that you share. And the light of Divinity will radiate through you. Let’s pray for each other as we make our way through life. Hopefully one day we will meet one another and if not in this life God willing in the life to come. Please pray for the Hermits of the Holy Cross.
Love and Goodness,
Your brother always,
Hermits of the Holy Cross