A Daily Gospel Reflection
by Deacon Kevin Heim
Monday, September 7, 2020
On a certain sabbath Jesus went into the synagogue and taught,
and there was a man there whose right hand was withered.
The scribes and the Pharisees watched him closely
to see if he would cure on the sabbath
so that they might discover a reason to accuse him.
But he realized their intentions
and said to the man with the withered hand,
“Come up and stand before us.”
And he rose and stood there.
Then Jesus said to them,
“I ask you, is it lawful to do good on the sabbath
rather than to do evil,
to save life rather than to destroy it?”
Looking around at them all, he then said to him,
“Stretch out your hand.”
He did so and his hand was restored.
But they became enraged
and discussed together what they might do to Jesus.
Few of today’s readers are likely to remember Iowa’s “blue laws,” as most of them disappeared in the 1980’s. Other than a section regarding liquor sales on Sunday, only one remains – a prohibition on buying or selling at retail new or used motor vehicles, other than mobile homes more than eight feet in width or more than thirty-two feet in length, on Sundays. As you might surmise, “blue laws” dealt with activities done on Sunday. Not too different from today’s Gospel. Like today’s Gospel, those charged with enforcement were constantly on the lookout for lawbreakers. I remember making appointments at church with the local grocer to shop via his back door when we ran out of items, or needed a brew or two for a last minute picnic and the local gas station/convenience store (before Caseys, Kum and Go, etc.) was under surveillance. Sunday was to be a day of recreation and rest in the Lord and any unnecessary work was not to be done. (Something we may want to consider again.) Gas stations could be open, as a necessary service, while everything else needed to be closed. With the advent of malls and big box stores, Sunday sales became available from noon to five, and finally to whatever the store or locality wanted.
As for the grocer, being caught would have been more than an inconvenience for him, but for us, his actions often meant the difference between the folks putting up with five hungry, whiny kids or not – Monday would not have come soon enough to preserve their sanity. Both the grocer and the store are gone now, but I like to think what he did counted to his benefit.
Sunday is a day of rest. If you must work, do it for the good of others (I might be able to come up with a few things.)
Lord, help me live from day to day
In such a self-forgetful way,
That even when I kneel to pray,
My prayer shall be for "Others."
Help me in all the work I do
To ever be sincere and true,
And know, that all I do for You
Must needs be done for "Others."
And when my work on earth is done,
And my new work in Heaven´s begun,
May I forget the crown I´ve won,
While thinking still of "Others."
"Others" Lord, yes, "Others"
Let this motto be,
Help me live for others
That I may live for Thee.