Jesus entered the synagogue. There was a man there with a withered hand. The Pharisees watched Jesus closely to see if he would cure him on the Sabbath so that they might accuse him.
When I was a child, I loved to throw rocks. Children have not changed in the last ten thousand years or in the past forty years.
As director of a school, I often accompany my (middle school) students on their field trips. They loved the Art Museums because they immediately gravitated to the gravel outside! I would often ask myself why all Art Museums and fancy-dancy places had gravel or stones in their gardens and pathways. Didn’t they know how stupid it was to do this, especially when kids are around? And then I remembered that these places were not really set up for children but rather for adults.
The Old Testament is literally the history of the infancy years of the children of Israel. Their growing pains if you will. In today’s first reading, we have the true story of David and Goliath. I think it is safe to say that it is the story of two men, two armies, that still act like little kids in a playground, and that love to play with sticks and stones and other dangerous things. The New Testament is the story of the People of God as adults. Our Lord came into the world to help us grow up!
What to do? What is the law that surpasses all laws? Is it not the law of love?
Love does not mean to forgive and forget. Who in their right mind can forget a wrong that is done to them? What it means is to forgive regardless of forgetting. It means to place your trust in God’s strength which is God’s son, who is our rock!
“Blessed be the Lord, my Rock!” The rock is the oldest weapon in the history of the world. And it is interesting to see how it continues to be used by many. For a Christian, there is only one rock that is allowed to be thrown: the rock that is our Lord and His Church.
Very few turn to the Lord or the Church to solve their problems. They either attack the problem by attacking the person or by running away from them. How many of us would just love to dispatch our enemies like David dispatched Goliath? Yes, knock them down and cut off their heads!
But the Lord invites us to fight evil by doing good. As the Lord was being watched by the Pharisees, to see if he would cure (work) on the sabbath, he asked them a simple question: “Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath rather than to do evil, to save life rather than to destroy it?” He asked them this question because he knew the hardness of their hearts. He knew that even on the sabbath, they were secretly plotting (working) to put him to death! He knew the Pharisees themselves were diligently working to accuse Jesus of some – any- wrong doing. But the darkness in their hearts was not enough to hide their plans, and so the Lord revealed their hearts by doing good.
Instead of Jesus condemning the Pharisees to death, like David condemned the Philistine, the Lord turned his eyes, his focus, and his love on the man with the withered hand. Instead of wishing our enemies evil, we need to focus our time and attention on healing their victims. How? By throwing Christ, the rock, at them! By throwing Peter, the Rock, at them! Of course I do not mean this literally. I do not want you to throw a crucifix at someone or a statue of a Saint. What I mean to say is preach the Gospel, the Good News, of the kingdom with enthusiasm, with conviction and resolve. Speak up on the modern day plagues that entrap our friends. Be aware of the hypocrisy of the secular world that loves tolerance and hates God, family and marriage! Do not be afraid to slew sin, to cut its head off as you would a snake, and save the sinner!
The Lord is my rock, my refuge, my fortress, my stronghold, my deliverer, my shield, in whom I trust. Blessed be the Lord my rock who trains my hands for battle, my fingers for war! (Ps 144)