Wednesday of the Second Week of Ordinary Time

+ Mk 3: 1-6

Again he entered the synagogue. There was a man there who had a withered hand.

They watched him closely to see if he would cure him on the sabbath so that they might accuse him.

He said to the man with the withered hand, “Come up here before us.”

Then he said to them, “Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath rather than to do evil, to save life rather than to destroy it?” But they remained silent.

Looking around at them with anger and grieved at their hardness of heart, he said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out and his hand was restored.

The Pharisees went out and immediately took counsel with the Herodians against him to put him to death.

The New American Bible

The Catechism of the Catholic Church

Jesus and Israel

574 From the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry, certain Pharisees and partisans of Herod together with priests and scribes agreed together to destroy him. Because of certain acts of his expelling demons, forgiving sins, healing on the sabbath day, his novel interpretation of the precepts of the Law regarding purity, and his familiarity with tax collectors and public sinners — some ill-intentioned persons suspected Jesus of demonic possession. He is accused of blasphemy and false prophecy, religious crimes which the Law punished with death by stoning.

575 Many of Jesus’ deeds and words constituted a “sign of contradiction”, but more so for the religious authorities in Jerusalem, whom the Gospel according to John often calls simply “the Jews”, than for the ordinary People of God. To be sure, Christ’s relations with the Pharisees were not exclusively polemical. Some Pharisees warn him of the danger he was courting; Jesus praises some of them, like the scribe of Mark 12:34, and dines several times at their homes. Jesus endorses some of the teachings imparted by this religious elite of God’s people: the resurrection of the dead, certain forms of piety (almsgiving, fasting and prayer), the custom of addressing God as Father, and the centrality of the commandment to love God and neighbor.

576 In the eyes of many in Israel, Jesus seems to be acting against essential institutions of the Chosen People:

– submission to the whole of the Law in its written commandments and, for the Pharisees, in the interpretation of oral tradition;

– the centrality of the Temple at Jerusalem as the holy place where God’s presence dwells in a special way;

– faith in the one God whose glory no man can share.

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