REFLECTION FOR TODAY
September 6, 2021
By Fr. Andrew Ibegbulem, OSA
On a certain sabbath Jesus 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… Lk. 6:6-8
How can the Pharisees and the scribes be scrutinizing Jesus for signs that he will break the law of the Sabbath? Jesus had great gifts and all his gifts were good to perfection. Jesus manifested one of those gifts in our gospel reference of today namely he was able to realize the intentions of those He daily encountered.
In life generally, we can only know people’s intentions if they were to tell us their intentions. We cannot read minds and hearts. But our Lord could. He had the divine ability to read every soul and know every heart. For that reason, when someone came to Him with great faith, He knew it. And when someone came to Him with evil intent, He knew it.
When Jesus perceived the ill intentions of the scribes and Pharisees, He used that knowledge to manifest their intentions. They intended to find a reason to accuse Jesus, so He gave them one. Jesus cured a man with a withered hand on the Sabbath, and the scribes and Pharisees “became enraged and discussed together what they might do to Jesus.” Jesus was not to be intimidated by the scribes and Pharisees. His approach to Sabbath law was guided by his conviction that love of God is inseparably linked to love of neighbor
The Scribes and Pharisees thought miracles were violations of the law of Sabbath rest. Jesus knew they would apply their twisted logic to this miraculous healing, and He knew they would become enraged at Him on account of their envy. So, in a sense, Jesus provoked them so that that which was in their hearts would come forth for them to see.
All our interior intentions and thoughts are known by God and must become manifest to us in the presence of God. By provoking the scribes and Pharisees in charity, Jesus forces them to face that which was within them. They had to choose to either continue down the path of envy or to realize the foolishness of their interior thoughts. Sadly, for the scribes and Pharisees, it appears that many of them became more hardened in their sin. But this was a choice only they could make.
Reflect, today, upon your own interior intentions and thoughts. Why do you do the things you do? What hidden motivations are in your heart? Is there some person, or a certain situation you find yourself in that causes you to obsess in anger interiorly? Or is it true charity that resides within you and is the source of your actions? Is there a profound faith? A supernatural hope? Or is it primarily some sin with which you struggle? Know that Jesus knows your heart, and He wants you also to see clearly those things hidden in your heart. He wants you to see your intentions as clearly as He sees them. Allow Him to reveal the depths of your heart to you so that you can turn away from the sins you find and rejoice in the virtues by which you live.
Lord, you know all thoughts and probe the depths of every heart. You know me, Lord, through and through. Please open my eyes to see that which is within me so that I can discern the ill intentions I have and rejoice in the virtues given to me by You. May I always be attentive to You, dear Lord, so that I become aware of all that You wish to reveal to me. Jesus, I trust in You.