Out of kindness Jesus changed the rules.

Monday, 9/9/13

Let’s look at the story of the man with a withered hand. Supposedly, the man had been crippled at birth, and had grown used to it after a fashion.

When I was twelve back in 1940 there was a boy like that from the next street. Calvin would wander over to talk to me about Country Music. He figured he could manage a guitar somehow if he ever could afford one. In the meantime he serenaded me, not knowing that back then us city people looked down on Country singers. I think Calvin carried a lot of sorrow.

That rule against curing on the Sabbath was a later addition to the Law. From about 530 to 330 B.C. Jerusalem was part of the Persian Empire, and a hundred years into that period the Persian emperor had granted the Jews the right to add amendments to the Law of Moses. They went overboard doing that. Like, one was permitted to walk something like only two hundred yards from his property on the Sabbath. (The rich got around that by buying a square foot of land every two hundred yards through the city, so they were never too far from their property.)

The story of the man with the withered hand brings up the matter of conflicts between church law and the laws of kindness. We often have need to resolve conflicts over that.

Like, I have a nephew who got five of his kids through Jesuit colleges, and he was determined to see them married Catholic. Recently, he forced a son and his bride-to-be to take marriage instructions from a priest; but then, the bride’s mother insisted on a garden wedding. While I didn’t like breaking the rule that demands a wedding be connected with a parish church, I bent the rules for that garden wedding. A priest friend, hearing about it the morning of the wedding day, was angry with me, telling me I just shouldn’t do it. I did it anyway. With our losing a large percentage of our young people, giving them a helping hand seemed to be similar to Jesus telling that man to stretch out his hand.

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