2nd Week in Ordinary Time
1 Samuel 17:32-33, 37, 40-51; Psalm 144:1-2, 9-10;Mark 3:1-6
Stretch out your hand. (Mark 3:5)
Instead of avoiding the religious leaders’ scrutiny, Jesus called forward the man with the disability and asked his detractors a pointed question: “Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath rather than to do evil?” (Mark 3:4). Understanding what he was referring to, his opponents remained silent. Their hard-heartedness angered Jesus, for it had condemned this man to continued suffering. Their failure to act amounted to evildoing.
Today, as we remember the United States Supreme Court’s infamous Roe v. Wade decision, which made legalized abortion possible in the United States, this Gospel reading is especially challenging. it tells us that our failure to act can be a form of wrongdoing. To disregard the vulnerability of the unborn, to turn a deaf ear to the words of their frightened parents—this is like passing by a wounded traveler on the other side of the road (Luke 10:29-37).
“But what can I do? What difference could I possibly make? Abortion is such a polarizing issue. How can I turn the tide?”
Jesus told the man, “Stretch out your hand” (Mark 3:5). But the man’s hand was useless. He couldn’t do what Jesus commanded, but he obeyed anyway. And in that obedience, he found healing.
Today, Jesus says to us, “Stretch out your hand.” Stretch out your hand in prayer, asking for a change of heart among those who advocate for abortion. Stretch out your hand by offering to help at a crisis-pregnancy center, to give prayerful witness in front of an abortion clinic, or to support your parish’s respect-life group. Of course your resources are inadequate, but our Father always makes possible what he commands. If salvation can come from a baby in a manger, don’t ever discount how much of a difference you can make.
Faced with profound political and ideological opposition, we can easily become discouraged. But let’s remember today’s first reading. David slew a mighty warrior with a few stones and deep faith. We can overcome the culture of death by stretching out our hands and witnessing to the preciousness of life.
“Jesus, show me what I can do today to help build your kingdom.”~wau.org
A Catholic Devotional Magazine
based on the Daily Mass Readings