REFLECTION FOR TODAY,
September 7, 2020
By Fr. Andrew Ibegbulem, OSA
“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. Luke 6:10-11
In the midst of the challenges we face each day, it is important that we have Christ at the center of our lives. Christ’s words and deeds have taught us to love God and to love neighbor – these are the priorities for Christian living. But it is only with his grace that we are able to put into practice what he has taught: To turn away from sin, and to love one another. Jesus heals a man with a withered hand on the Sabbath, upsetting the scribes and the Pharisees who watched him closely with malice in their hearts.
The above passage is very disturbing. Over and over again we find that the scribes and Pharisees acted with much intentional and calculated malice. Here they were looking for anything they could try to accuse Jesus of doing. And what do they find they can accuse Him of? They witness Him doing a miracle on the Sabbath day. And they act as if this is a sin on the part of Jesus. Seriously?
The reason this passage is so disturbing is because those who were the religious leaders of the time were clearly only interested in themselves, and Jesus was getting in the way of their self-importance. He was becoming more popular and respected than the scribes and Pharisees and they were filled with envy.
One important point to learn from this passage is that the sin of envy lead us to irrationality and foolishness. This sin blinds us and leads us to think and say foolish things. This is what the scribes and Pharisees did. Who in their right mind would “accuse” Jesus of doing something as good as healing on the Sabbath? Only those who have become blind by envy.
Though this passage is disturbing, it should hopefully become disturbing in a helpful way. It should be an opportunity for each of us to look at our own lives and to examine the relationships we have. Do you see envy present in any of those relationships? Do you see yourself acting and thinking in an irrational way at times towards this person or that?
Reflect, today, upon any tendency you may have to be like the scribes and Pharisees. Know that their actions were included in the Scripture to teach us about this ugly sin we sometimes struggle with. Let the disturbing part of it motivate you to work toward freedom from envy in your life.
Lord, I do want to be free of the sins of pride, envy and jealousy. Help me to see these in my life, to repent of them and to replace them with Your mercy and love. Jesus, I trust in You.