Step #1: Lectio / Read
Click the link below or open your Bible to the passage and read through the reading at least once, paying attention to what is happening in the text.
Step #2: Meditatio / Meditate
Use the following meditation to help you reflect more deeply on the Scripture (you may want to read the passage again).
The healing in today’s Gospel is not particularly unique or special, and in the context of the story is a secondary aspect compart to Jesus’ teaching about the Sabbath and the Pharisees defiance. The Greek used to describe the man’s ailment hints that it was a long-term condition. It’s not really clear why this man should be specially singled out on this occasion.
However, I invite you to put yourself in this man’s position in this reflection. You probably wouldn’t care much about the squabbles of the religious leaders, even though you would have been a Jew in the synagogue. You are resigned to your fate and have likely lost hope for any sort of cure. A withered hand would have been nearly impossible to move and quite painful when if it was. A man, who seems to be causing trouble, comes in and invites you to come out to stand in front of the religious leaders and others who had come to hear the word on the Sabbath. You normally fly under the radar, but you don’t want even more trouble. You aren’t really paying attention to their exchange, but you hear this man everyone is watching discuss “doing good”. Dare you hope he’s talking about you?
That’s when he turns, angry with the crowd, yet looking lovingly at you. “Stretch out your hand,” he commands. Your heart sinks. Doesn’t he know how hard this will be? Doesn’t he understand how much it will hurt even if you can extend your emaciated arm? If he wants to heal you, why doesn’t he just do it, and then you can extended your arm as far as you’d like? However, there is something about this man, something interiorly that is driving you make the effort. With grimacing and immense struggle, you move your arm towards him, and suddenly you feel it be strengthened and restored. Your heart fills with gratitude and you use your healed arm to hug the man who made you whole.
God will often ask us to go through pain, to use the weakest parts of our being to do his work. We want to reason with God and tell him that if he just takes away the weakness, we can do what it wants. But God wants to enact healing at our very weakest points, the points we recognize and are embarrassed by. And it really does make sense – God shows the extent of his power to all and you learn to rely even more on him. If we put forth effort, God will do the rest. He never commands us without enabling us. This week, identify one of those weak, withering points in your life and be encouraged by the man in the synagogue to stretch out through the pain towards the healing promised by Jesus.
Step #3: Oratio / Pray
These questions are to be used to talk to God; have a conversation with the Lord about these questions and what is going on in your heart as you pray today.
Am I actually open to the healing that you have to offer?
What pain am I resisting giving to you?
Step #4: Contemplatio / Contemplate
In this step, you listen. Stop talking, let God speak to your heart. You may repeat one of these short phrases to focus your mind on the Lord.
Give me strength, Lord.
I am yours.
Step #5: Actio / Act
In light of today's reading and your time spent in prayer with the Lord, what concrete action or actions will you take to let this encounter with the Lord bear fruit in you today?
Write down today 3 areas of your life that you feel need healing and invite Him into those places.
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Today's reflection was written by Kevin Gregus.