Monday of the Twenty-Third Week in Ordinary Time
Our respectability is garbage
On another sabbath he went into the synagogue and taught, and there was a man there whose right hand was withered. The scribes and the Pharisees watched him closely to see if he would cure on the sabbath so that they might discover a reason to accuse him. But he realized their intentions and said to the man with the withered hand, “Come up and stand before us.” And he rose and stood there. Then Jesus said to them, “I ask you, is it lawful to do good on the sabbath rather than to do evil, to save life rather than to destroy it?” Looking around at them all, he then said to him, “Stretch out your hand.” He did so and his hand was restored. But they became enraged and discussed together what they might do to Jesus. Lk 6,6-11
To the reader who is preparing to meditate, one day after another, the pages of the gospel, the mystery of Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of God and God himself, is gradually setting up: he forgives the sins, he attended the banquet with the sinners, he transformed the water into wine in hopeless situations, he offers in an handful way the bread of the Providence, he makes miracles and healings and he declared himself Lord of the Sabbath, because the waiting time was successfully over. Faced with this revelation, however, we encounter the resistance of the scribes and of the pharisees to receive the message of this new life which broke the history. This difficulty of the man, particularly of the one more advanced, to accept this message of freedom, taking refuge in the law which continually makes slaves, to what reason is due? He preferred, perhaps, the deadly security of the past times to the new life, as the jew people regretted the slavery in Egypt in front of the freedom in the desert ? The men who does not open the withered hand to welcome the news of the gospel, like the miracle of the today passage, but defends by the nails and the tooths the nothing of his existence, does not discover the thrill of the new life which beats in the heart of those who endeavor to follow Jesus Christ. He remains fossilized in his past, without meaning and without hope. More than the risk of the atheist who, as such, is always looking for the truth and the absolute, this is the risk of the one who lives a routine and sad religiousness. In this passage we risk to be the pharisees, who are not open to the gospel and prefer that the man remains in his illness, if, every day, like the paralytic has opened his hand, we do not open our hearts to the Lord who comes in his word and in the eucharist. It is necessary that we operate on us the same conversion of Paul, who has considered “rubbish” the “righteousness based on the law”. Even our religious respectability is rubbish in front of the supremacy of knowing Christ Jesus, my (our) Lord” (Phil 3,6-8).