Mk 3:1-6 Stretch Out Your Hand
“Stretch out your hand.” But it is withered? He stretched it out and it was restored.
There is much the Lord can do and there is much I can do. The Lord did not put us on an earth that was already cultivated, groomed and furnished. He wants our participation. He wants only what we can give to him and he will push me to realize what I am capable of giving, achieving and realizing. This is the history of my life. This is the history of the Church! This is the reason why the Lord gave us eyes, legs, ears, hands and a mouth: to live his life over and over again until He comes again. He is the First and the Last. I am the middle.
I once heard the story of a young man who was shot in the eye by his little brother with a bee-bee gun. He was an aspiring athlete – baseball player – but after the accident, he lost his sense of depth (depth perception) and could no longer hit a baseball. He fell into depression and despair. The only thing that seemed to help him was running. Soon, he was running all the time and getting better and faster at it. When he heard about a local competition, to climb to the top of a certain mountain, he went about training for it and set a new world record. He discovered a remarkable life lesson: how to turn a handicap into a success story.
The man with the withered made it in the bible! He was successful because he sought out the Lord to restore his withered hand and came home restored and filled with faith. In contrast, the Pharisees and the scribes saw that the Lord had worked on the Sabbath and, poisoned with envy, set out to destroy the Lord – even though it was the Sabbath! They too had worked on the Sabbath – plotting with the Herodians to plan out their miserable deed. For this reason, Jesus asks the question “Is it lawful on the Sabbath to save life rather than destroy it? He hoped for an answer. He received none. Do I realize that by my words and actions I may be responsible for saving a life or destroying it? Do I answer the call, ignore it, or worse - Do I hang up? Do I make up excuses in order to excuse myself from my Christian duties? Do I fulfill my ministry or do I excuse myself? We can see how easily the Pharisees grabbed on to sophisms in order to have something to accuse Jesus of. Do I do the same?
To walk away from my brother who suffers is to put enmity between God and myself. After all, as I walk away there could be nothing further from the truth! God loves us, which means he sends us. We are his most beloved! He created me and said, “This is very good.” When we are in doubt, when we are not sure how far we should go, the answer comes from an unlikely source: the man with the withered hand.
Jesus says to all of us today, “Stretch out your hand.” And not because we need to be healed, but because we can!