Meditation of the Apostolic Nuncio, Apostolic Nunciature, New Delhi, Monday 7 September 2020

Gospel: Luke 6:6-11

The Lord now proceeds to another work. For He who had determined to make the whole man safe, was able to cure each member. He chiefly heals and teaches on the sabbaths, not only to convey the meaning of a spiritual sabbath, but because of the more numerous assembly of the people.

He taught things far beyond their comprehension, and opened to his hearers the way to future salvation by Him; and then after having first taught them, He suddenly showed His divine power.

But the pharisees feed themselves and their pang of grief with the praises of others. But the Lord knew their thoughts and searches the hearts and said to the man who had the withered hand, Rise up, and stand. And he arose, and stood forth, that perchance he might stir up the Pharisees to pity, and allay the flames of their passion.

The Lord anticipating the false charge which they were preparing against Him, reproves those who by wrongly interpreting the law thought that they must rest on the sabbath-day even from good works.

Though our Lord was healing the body, He asked this question, “is it lawful to save the soul or to lose it?” either because He performed His miracles on account of faith in which is the salvation of the soul; or, because the cure of the right hand signified the salvation of the soul, which ceasing to do good works, seemed in some measure to have a withered right hand, i. e. He placed the soul for the man, as men are wont to say, “So many souls were there.”

But they who should have been astonished at the miracle, increased in malice (“But they were filled with madness; and communed one with another what they should do to Jesus”).

You have heard then the words of Him who says, stretch forth your hand. That is a frequent and common cure, and you that think your hand is whole, beware lest it be contracted by avarice or sacrilege. Stretch it forth oftener to help thy neighbour, to protect the widow, to save from injury him whom you see the victim of unjust attack; stretch it forth to the poor man who beseeches thee; stretch it forth to the Lord, to ask pardon of thy sins; as the hand is stretched forth so is it healed. (St. Ambrose).