We must love our neighbor as though all of his or her heartaches were ours.

Wednesday, 1/20/16

St. Mark, who might have been there, tells us about a Sabbath when Jesus was teaching in a synagogue, and a man with a withered hand came before him.

Mark tells us that the enemies of Jesus were watching to see if Jesus would cure the man, when the Law of the Scribes made it a capitol crime to cure on the Sabbath.

Since his enemies were already there, watching; it would seem that they had planted the poor man there. They figured Jesus would fall into their trap. The man’s miserable condition would move Jesus to cure him.

This story always reminds me of Calvin, a boy on the next street to us. Although he couldn’t sing, he always talked about being a rock star. He couldn’t do much else, because he had a right hand that was like a fish’s flipper.

Both Jesus and the Book of Leviticus sum up God-like behavior by saying, “You should love your neighbor as yourself.” And they don’t just mean love him as much as you love yourself. No, they mean you should love your neighbor as though he or she were yourself.

As the heart of Jesus went out to that man with a crippled hand, he began taking on himself all that man’s unreachable dreams. Then, seeing himself in that man, he couldn’t resist saying,  “Stretch out your hand.”

Imagine what it must have been for the man to see and feel his hand become one that any girl would take in marriage.

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