The Restoring Power of Love

September 11, 2017 – Monday of the Twenty-Third Week in Ordinary Time

Mark J. Poletunow, Malvern President (mpoletunow@malvernretreat.com)

Click for: Readings for the day (From the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops)

A reading from the holy Gospel according to Luke (6:6-11)

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
and said to the man with the withered hand,
“Come up and stand before us.”
And he rose and stood there.
Then Jesus said to them,
“I ask you, is it lawful to do good on the sabbath
rather than to do evil,
to save life rather than to destroy it?”

Looking around at them all, he then said to him,
“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.

 

Reflect: Is it lawful to do good on the Sabbath rather than to do evil, to save life rather than to destroy it? Jesus’ action of healing and restoring full life to the man with a withered hand highlights the contrast between life in God and the withered hearts of the scribes and Pharisees. Upon seeing the cure “they became enraged and discussed together what they might do to Jesus.” Their jealousy and hatred blinded them from the goodness that Jesus brought. Today, we remember the tragic events of September 11, 2001. Terroristic acts inflicted evil on our country and the world. Yet, countless people united for good in defiance of those evil actions. In the midst of great suffering, sacrifice, compassion and care joined to give witness to a greater, healing power. This past Friday, while Pope Francis visited Colombia, a country that was traumatized by decades of kidnappings and killings, the leader of the FARC guerilla group spoke up. In an open letter to Pope Francis, Rodrigo Londoño asked forgiveness for the suffering his group caused to the Colombian people. To the Pope, he said: “Your repeated expressions about God’s infinite mercy move me to plead your forgiveness for any tears and pain that we have cause the people of Colombia.” Is it better to do good than to do evil? We can never underestimate the power of good, of choosing life.

Questions: Am I intentional about choosing good in every situation? Am I willing to let the example of Jesus and the power of his word convict me of any jealousy or hatred that I carry in my heart? Do I stand behind and encourage those who are committed to work for justice and peace in our world?

Pray: Loving God, your love conquers all evil. Help me to desire to embrace your love and give witness to the healing power of your cross. Give me the courage to be an instrument of good to everyone I meet.  I pray this in the powerful and perfect name of Jesus. Amen.

Holy God; Holy and Mighty One; Holy and Immortal One: Have mercy on us and on the whole world.

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ENCOUNTERING THE DIVINE PHYSICIAN (Gospel of Luke 5: 17-26)

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