18th January 2023
GOD'S PURPOSE AND INTENTION FOR THE SABBATH COMMANDMENT
Hebrews 7:1-3, 15-17
Jesus in His early ministry demonstrated His brave and bold presence by displaying Himself as the
Powerful Lion of Judah. Today the Lion, associated with Mark’s Gospel is set to “roar!” Yes, Jesus, the Marcan Lion is out to roar in the Synagogue. It’s another Sabbath day and Jesus is in the synagogue where there is a man who has a withered hand.
St Mark is particular to mention that the Pharisees were watching him keenly, to observe what Jesus, the healer would do (Mk 3:2). They did not look, to praise God, they observed in order to pinpoint faults. They did not seek, to glorify God’s name but they scrutinized in order to defame the Lord. What a pity when religious leaders become only harsh law-enforcing personnel and fail to administer compassion and love. What a pity when protectors of the law become too rigid and stubborn to keep the rules that they become perpetrators of perpetual hypocrisy. As the Pharisees keep watching what He is going to do, Jesus throws the ball in their court. The Lord knows the secrets of human hearts, the Lord gauges the depths of human hypocrisy and so Jesus, the Marcan Lion roars and asks, “Is it lawful to do good on the Sabbath rather than to do evil, to save life rather than to destroy it?” (Mk 3:4).
A basic and fundamental question was staring at the faces of the Pharisees. They were people who were staunch to uphold the laws and the rules. who would strive to maintain faithfulness to the minutest regulations and who would raise their voice at any violation of God’s commandments. Was it love that drove them to do God’s commandments? Was it pure motives that made them zealous for God’s law? Was it a striving for God’s glory that impelled them to be strict keepers of the rules?
Dear brethren, how many of us are similar to this attitude of the Pharisees? We see people withered in misery and abjection and we assume a dignified silence of inaction and apathy. We see others withered in sinful situations and evil circumstances and we take refuge in silence not doing anything to help them, come out of this condition. We see families, societies, and communities withering in disunity and discord and we maintain a clean image of silence, instead of doing the unpleasant task of unifying. We see ourselves withered in corrupt inclinations and errant behavior and we uphold a silence of indifference and lethargy and avoid reformation and renewal. But the Lord, the great Lion, roars in all such unfair and debasing moments of silence. It angers him, it grieves him, it provokes him, it pains him and at the same time, we realize that Jesus the Lion of Judah - Who roars fiercely is also the Gentle Lamb who sacrificed His life for our transformation, renewal, and reformation.
The Lion of Judah is roaring for a positive and active response from us for a change in our attitude and mentality, for a radical transformation in our misery of indifference. Let the roar of Jesus, the Lion instill in us the urgency to take necessary good actions in our life. Lord Jesus, in your victory over sin and death on the cross and in your resurrection you give us the assurance of sharing in the eternal rest of heaven. Transform our hearts with your love so that we may freely serve our neighbors for their good and find joy and refreshment in the celebration of Sunday as Lord’s Day.