Wednesday, January 20, 2021

 Wednesday of the Second Week in Ordinary Time

(Hebrews 7:1-3.15-17; Mark 3:1-6)

A retired police officer recounts his first days in the service.  As a learning exercise, his partner, a veteran, was going to watch him stop and lecture a driver for a minor infraction. When the police officer approached the driver, however, the veteran interrupted the process. He apologized to the driver and allowed him to leave. He then explained to the young policeman that it was not time to reproach the driver because his son was in the car.  He continued that since no one wants to be embarrassed before his children, the man might have reacted irresponsibly. The young officer thanked the veteran for the lesson on the subtleties of good policing. This story may help us understand the drama in the gospel today.

Jesus' question of whether it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath rather than to do evil contains a lesson for the Pharisees.  It is the Sabbath, and Jesus is about to do a good deed for a person in considerable need.  On the other hand, the Pharisees are about to do evil in plotting Jesus’ demise.  Unfortunately, the Pharisees, unlike the young policeman in our story, cannot see Jesus’ point.  There zealotry for religious dominance has clouded their judgment.

As the Pharisees, our judgment is often compromised by the force of our egos.  We do what is wrong thinking that we are doing something good.  We might pray to the Holy Spirit for discernment. Also, conferring with a wise friend may help us avoid this pitfall.  We, who listen to the word of God daily, should take care not to act like the Pharisees of this gospel passage.