Tomorrow many churches will read an account from Mark’s Gospel of
Jesus healing both a specific individual, and a whole community of people.
Today’s reading from Matthew tells another healing story, but this one has
a dark side to it. On the one hand, we see Jesus healing a man with a
damaged hand. But, on the other side, we see the religious leaders waiting
to use Jesus’ compassion against him. The setting for this story is the
synagogue – the place of worship – and it is the Sabbath. No work is to be
done on the Sabbath, and in the tradition of which these leaders were a
part, healing had somehow come to be seen as work that was forbidden.
They are also threatened by Jesus and his teaching, and so they ignore the
suffering of this man, and try to trick Jesus into a blatant disregard for their
law so that they can have an excuse to get rid of him.
It’s sad when our need to be “right” or “pure” obscures God’s compassion.
Perhaps you’ve experienced this when those who claim to follow Christ
have pointed judging fingers at you for something you couldn’t help, or for
some difference of opinion. Maybe you’ve had times when the pointing
fingers have been yours.
At the end of every worship service there is a “benediction” –
literally a “good word” or a word of blessing. Speaking blessing over
people is a powerful and healing practice, but it’s not just about the words.
The intention to seek the best for the one we bless is also important.
Dear Jesus, let your blessing rest on me and others today, I pray