Fr. Kirk Reynolds, S.J.

Today’s passage from Luke 6 is one of a number of similar passages that depict a dispute between Jesus and the scribes and Pharisees over legal observance of the sabbath. Jesus encounters a man with a withered hand in a local synagogue on a sabbath. Will he break the sabbath prohibition against “work” in which case they can bring a charge against him and discredit his message overall? Jesus’ choice is obvious. Healing took precedence over legalism.

In the course of preparing my homily for yesterday’s gospel reading about the need for reconciliation, I chose to quote the mother of Jason Blake, Julia, who was interviewed by the national press the day after her son was shot 7 times by police. I found her words to be prayerful and faith-filled, a mother’s plea for unity and healing in the face of a terrible tragedy, and very in sync with Jesus’ message of reconciliation. (the interview is available on YouTube via Google should you want to judge for yourself) I was so impressed that I shared the interview with a good friend, who in turn shared it with a number of family and friends.

In today’s gospel there is one constant: Jesus cures the man with the withered hand. And there are 2 variables: Jesus’ perception of the situation (a person in need of healing) and that of the scribes and Pharisees (legal observance of the sabbath). The very same event is seen, literally, in 2 very different ways.

In Julia’s interview with the press, there is one constant: her words. And it turned out that there were at least 2 variables: my friend’s perception of her words and that of a family member’s. My friend found Julia’s words to be “hopeful, desiring unity and kindness…asking for peace and unity which our country surely needs.” A cousin felt “Mom can cry crocodile tears…she did not raise a good person…” And more of the same.

Sometimes it seems that God can be “hiding in plain sight”. How could the scribes and Pharisees have been so incredibly BLIND to God at work before their very eyes? Perhaps my friend’s cousin sheds some light on our own potential blind spots?