18 January 2017
You remember that Melchizedek, king of Salem, a priest of God Most High, went to meet Abraham who was on his way back after defeating the kings, and blessed him; and also that it was to him that Abraham gave a tenth of all that he had. By the interpretation of his name, he is, first, ‘king of righteousness’ and also king of Salem, that is, ‘king of peace’; he has no father, mother or ancestry, and his life has no beginning or ending; he is like the Son of God. He remains a priest for ever.
This becomes even more clearly evident when there appears a second Melchizedek, who is a priest not by virtue of a law about physical descent, but by the power of an indestructible life. For it was about him that the prophecy was made: You are a priest of the order of Melchizedek, and for ever.
Jesus went again into a synagogue, and there was a man there who had a withered hand. And they were watching him to see if he would cure him on the sabbath day, hoping for something to use against him. He said to the man with the withered hand, ‘Stand up out in the middle!’ Then he said to them, ‘Is it against the law on the sabbath day to do good, or to do evil; to save life, or to kill?’ But they said nothing.
Then, grieved to find them so obstinate, he looked angrily round at them, and said to the man, ‘Stretch out your hand.’ He stretched it out and his hand was better. The Pharisees went out and at once began to plot with the Herodians against him, discussing how to destroy him.
Then, grieved to find them so obstinate.
There is a fine line between a person who is determined and a person who is stubborn. In my discussions with people regarding how to separate people with these characteristics, the crux of the matter has to do with the intention of the person. If the person is willing to compromise on the outcome as long as the means to achieve it is in accordance with his beliefs, the belief stems from a person who is determined.
The Pharisees we find in today’s Gospel could not see the issue which bothered the man with the withered hand. For them, the adherence to the letter of the law was so strong that Jesus’s approach towards it was counter-intuitive to them. They had lost sight of the purpose and rationale for the law which was before them but instead valued the strict compliance. This cannot be the case for us because as Christians, we are called to express charity towards all who encounter us, regardless of how the other party treats us.
The way in which we behave sometimes forces us to become individuals who are reluctant to compromise on a particular issue; hence we need to take a step back to reflect on how our behaviour may have caused us to become a ‘monster’ in the eyes of people. Is the behaviour we are demonstrating truly reflective of a Christian or one who only appears to be Christian?
(Today’s Oxygen by Nicholas Chia)
Prayer – Dear God, we pray for the humility to see you in others.
Thanksgiving – We give thanks for our faith.