Monday of the Twenty-third Week in Ordinary Time
(I Corinthians 5:1-8; Luke 6:6-11)
Although humans pride themselves on intelligence and freedom, we more often behave as creatures of habit. Rather than think about what we do, we usually prefer to act as we always have. Unfortunately, by not thinking we can cause harm or ignore suffering in our midst. Such is the situation of the gospel reading today. The people refuse to challenge the idea that no one can cure on the Sabbath because such a deed, it is presumed, would violate the prohibition against working on the day of rest. Fortunately for the man with the withered hand Jesus thinks differently and acts on his conviction. He assures us that one does not sin by restoring full health on the day that is meant to celebrate life.
Customarily on Labor Day, Americans have their last fling of summer. They fill golf courses and picnic groves or perhaps just stay at home watching tennis. As desirable as recreation and rest may be, Labor Day has a greater purpose. It is a time to thank God for the work that we do five days a week, fifty weeks a year. It is also a fitting occasion to pledge to work more intelligently, like Jesus in today’s gospel, keeping the good of others always in mind.