St. Anthony, Abbot
I Samuel 17:32-33,37,40-51 + Mark 3:1-6
January 17, 2018
They watched Jesus closely to see if He would cure him on the Sabbath….
In today’s Gospel passage Jesus asks, “Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath rather than to do evil, to save life rather than to destroy it?” His question is rhetorical. The Pharisees understand Jesus’ question, and are very sure of His answer. What they seem unsure of is whether Jesus would practice what He preached.
Keep in mind that today’s Gospel passage is from the third chapter of Mark. In terms of the entire Gospel account, today’s Gospel passage is significant in that it’s Jesus’ first step towards Calvary. There were three scenes in the second chapter where Jesus’ ministry provoked opposition. But the last sentence of this passage is plain in announcing the plan of the Pharisees and Herodians “to put him to death.”
Jesus knew this, of course. But He didn’t just accept the Cross as the price for practicing what He preached. For us to think so would be putting the cart before the horse. The Cross was Jesus’ vocation, the purpose for His descent from Heaven into our world of sin and death. We can consider His three years of public ministry to be the prologue to or preparation for Holy Week. We can consider those three years to be time during which Jesus invited others, by His words and deeds, to follow Him to Calvary. But we need to be clear that the Cross was Jesus’ vocation.