for the readings of today's mass, go to
There is so much tension in today's gospel. The tension of the scribes and Pharisees who are just itching to get Jesus. There is the tension of those present in the synagogue, who have had already heard Jesus teach, and are quite aware of the seething hatred that the scribes and Pharisees have towards Jesus. And then there is the tension of the withered man - a man who growing up would have been subjected to the nasty name calling of children, and the stares and comments of adults, and now finds himself called up by Jesus. As he stands there, in my mind I have no doubt that he was wondering if once again he would be subjected to some hurtful comments.
But no. Jesus uses the example of this man to teach - and to heal. The man is cured. The congregants are amazed. And the scribes and Pharisees are further infuriated.
All this took place on the Sabbath, a day of rest that the Jewish people, following the teaching of the 4th commandment that God gave to Moses and the Jewish people, took very seriously. Of course Jesus, being Jesus, approaches this notion with the wonderful common sense that only the Lord possesses. Love takes first place, not the letter of the law. So the man is cured.
On this Labour Day, we are called to consider respect the efforts of all who work. We are also called to respect the need for rest as well. The idea of some imposed time of rest is still of great value for all to implement in their own lives.
Today, let us especially pray for all who work too much and get little rest, and for all those who are seeking work.