Monday of the Twenty-third Week in Ordinary Time
A common misconception about Jesus’ healing activities on the Sabbath is that He is intentionally breaking the law. This is actually far from the truth as our Lord Himself states in Matthew 5:17, “I have not come to abolish the law and the prophets but to fulfill them.” The Sabbath is about rest and rejuvenation and there legal provisions for instances when it is necessary to perform certain types of work on the Sabbath. For instance, as Jesus references in Luke 14:5, it is permissible for a person or animal who has fallen into a pit to be relieved of their physical distress. Likewise, infant circumcision on the eighth day after birth is permissible on the Sabbath as a spiritual good so they might be properly incorporated into the community of the faithful. While there is much more that could be said on this score, the miracles of Jesus clearly qualify as activities directly oriented to providing relief from significant physical and spiritual maladies.
It is important to understand this context in order to properly understand the conduct of the Pharisees. Their jealous rage against Jesus has completely blinded them such that they are absolutely determined to slander and defame him, even if they know that the charges are unjust and unfounded. They have willingly decided to ignore the obvious, miraculous, life-giving, life-changing goodness that He has wrought in the lives of those who have opened their hearts to Him. It is critical that we examine our own hearts frequently for similar movements. Are we open and able to receive all of the goodness and light that God desires to share with us through the people and experiences that He sends us each day? Or are there perhaps still areas of our lives that we steadfastly refuse to surrender to His care?