Today’s Gospel centers on a man who had a withered hand. Let’s take it that the man was a person who was born with one normal hand and one that was disfigured and useless.
It might help you in getting into this story if you have had one or more experiences with men who were afflicted that way. When I was eleven a boy named Calvin wandered on to the block where I lived. His right forearm and hand were short and useless, and he held them up with his good left hand.
He seemed to be looking for friendship, because he kept singing bits from hillbilly songs, asking if any of them were my favorites. While country music would later come to be all the thing, back then our family sneered at it. I don’t remember saying anything unkind to Calvin, but by showing no interest in all he had to offer, I sent him off.
Getting into the Gospel story, the Pharisees used Our Lord’s kind heart to entrap him. The man with the withered hand was their plant. They knew Our Lord’s heart would go out to the fellow, forcing him to engage in an acting of curing which they could construe as a violation of their law against working on a sabbath.
The Gospel story is telling us that if we want to hang on to our title as Christians, we must be like Christ in taking on a share of the sorrow burdening any persons with disfigurements that make it hard for them to love themselves.