Catholic Mass Readings and Reflection January 17, 2024


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R/. Blest be the Lord, my rock.

V/. Alleluia R/. Alleluia

V/. Jesus was proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction among the people.

R/. Alleluia

At that time: Jesus entered the synagogue, and a man was there with a withered hand. And they watched Jesus, to see whether he would heal him on the Sabbath, so that they might accuse him. And he said to the man with the withered hand, “Come here.” And he said to them, “Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do harm, to save life or to kill?” But they were silent. And he looked round at them with anger, grieved at their hardness of heart, and said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and his hand was restored. The Pharisees went out, and immediately held counsel with the Herodians against him, how to destroy him.

1.      Goliath, the huge and great Philistine warrior trusted in his own human capacities. But David, the inexperienced youth, totally trusted in God. That is why even the small staff and five stones from David’s sling could kill the mighty opponent. Goliath depended on his sword and spear but David, on God’s power.

2.       A heart that does not vibrate to the voice and grace of God, a heart that does not vibrate in sensitivity to the need of the other, a hand that does not extend itself to help the other, are truly withered.

3.       In the gospel, Jesus heals a man with a withered hand on a Sabbath day. As a result, the Pharisees and the scribes accuse Jesus of breaking the Sabbath law and begin to plot to kill him. This is truly absurd. They blame him because he did good. They want to kill him because he gave new life to the sick man. He receives only evil in return for his good.

4.       And this is the irony: the man with a withered hand was only physically sick. But the Pharisees and the scribes were physically healthy; still, actually, they were the really withered people. They had withered hands because they did not stretch forth to help others.

5.       They had withered hearts because they did not feel sensitive and concerned toward the needy and suffering. Thus, while the man with a withered hand got completely healed, the Pharisees and scribes who were healthy became sick and withered.

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