Misunderstanding God

Misunderstanding God September 6, 2022


The Good News for the Day, September 5, 2022

Monday of the Twenty-third Week of Ordinary Time (437)

The Gospel

One sabbath, Jesus went into the synagogue and was teaching there. Someone was present whose right hand was not functioning. Some Scribes and Pharisees were watching to see whether Jesus would perform a healing on the Sabbath. They wanted to find some reason to accuse him of lawbreaking.

Jesus, Awake to Enemies

because Jesus realized their plans, He said to the individual with the crippled hand, “Come up and stand in front.” That person got up and stayed standing there.

Then Jesus spoke “I ask you, is it all right—in the law—to do good on the sabbath rather than to do bad, to save a life rather than to destroy one?”

Jesus Acts More Than Words

Looking around at them all, Jesus then spoke to the individual standing there, “Put your hand out.” That was done.

The hand got better. The watchers, though, got upset and started discussing what they could do to Jesus. (Luke 6)

Reflections of the Word of Jesus

For the umpteenth time, we see Jesus contrast a human interpretation of a divine law with the practical need of a “neighbor.” His question is rhetorical. He knows a human interpretation yields to a neighbor’s need.

The Deeper Question

There is a point here, however, which Jesus clarifies with a question addressed to you and me.


Prayer sees this question appearing in different forms:

  • Is it better for you to obey a human understanding of God—or to help a neighbor? .
  • Is a deeper law of mind and heart  that overrules written ones, defies the prevailing view, and cancels what everybody expects?
  • Is there some unexamined rule that you and I obey from our past life that overrules practical action I can give?
  • Is there a general expectation of society pressing for an apathetic, neutral outcome?

An Even Deeper Question

Of course, there is another question nesting inside that one – am I rationalizing my fear, laziness or pride to avoid acting?

The Call to Action

Knowing powerful bystanders were waiting to find fault, the quiet courage of Jesus acts to quell their question. The question, however, also calls on you and me to stop and think, and then reach out and heal others.

The mental, legal, or even moral pressure to do otherwise does not matter. God calls each one of us to give life and and to heal others. We  avoid the behavior of the Pharisee – which was to control others.

It May Be Confusing

It is difficult at times to clearly see the loving part, the eternal principle, the courageous defiance. What one person sees as pressure and control, another sees as advice and conscience. One person may see it as interference, and another as authentic aid.

The Important Point

Stop and think. All you can do is “look around at them all,” and choose to heal someone in need. If  bystanders object to good you have done and get upset, then, perhaps, you have done the right thing!

The Good News – the point – is almost certainly suggesting that God is calling you and me to do the right thing. You act despite bystanders, mental and verbal pressure from others, and even from within your own heart and head.

You have helped your brother or sister in the family of God. That is what counts.

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