Wednesday, January 20 ~ Second Week in Ordinary Time
Saint Fabian, Pope and Martyr; Saint Sebastian, Martyr
Holy Gospel: Mark 3:1-6 Jesus entered the synagogue. There was a man there who had a withered hand. They watched Jesus 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 the Pharisees, “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, Jesus 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.
Meditation: In their usual folly the scribes and Pharisees wanted to catch Jesus in the act of breaking the Sabbath ritual so they might accuse him of breaking God’s law. In a few penetrating words Luke records that Jesus knew their thoughts. They were filled with fury and contempt for Jesus because they put their own thoughts of right and wrong above God. They were ensnared in their own legalism because they did not understand or see the purpose of God. Jesus shows their fallacy by pointing to God’s intention for the Sabbath: to do good and to save life rather than to do evil or to destroy life.
Prayer ~ Saint Fabian: O God, glory of your Priests, grant we pray, that, helped by the intercession of your Martyr Saint Fabian, we may make progress by communion in the faith and by worthy service. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Prayer ~ Saint Sebastian: Grant us, we pray, O Lord, a spirit of fortitude, so that taught by the glorious example of your Martyr Saint Sebastian, we may learn to obey you rather than men. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Contemplation: Taking our “sabbath rest” does not mean that we ignore the needs of others. Are hospitals closed on Sundays? Of course not. Do doctors, nurses, EMT’s and others shut down simply because it is Sunday, the Lord’s Day? No. The health and well-being of others is a daily activity, especially those who need healing. Jesus healing the man with the withered hand is an act of love, an act of caring for a person in need – something that can and should occur each and every day in the lives who call themselves disciples of Christ.