Mark 3, 1-6: Jesus, the Tradition, his death

Mark 3, 1-6 (the Gospel for today) tells of Jesus’ curing of a withered hand. In itself a noteworthy miracle, an expression of good will, of love. But Mark sets the miracle in a context of controversy: ’they’ continued to watch to see if Jesus would cure on the Sabbath, and, once he cured, the Pharisees and Herodians present started planning how they might destroy Jesus. These Pharisees could brook no one who performed on the long-venerated Sabbath any of the works Tradition had come to forbid, including healing. The Herodians, faithful to Roman rule and to Herod Antipas (this all happened in one of his territories, Galilee), feared Jesus would lead an uprising to overthrow Rome (and themselves). Mark wants to present the episode as instigated verbally by Jesus: what is it lawful to do on the Sabbath? His point can be expressed in this way. First, let us call what I did not ’cure’, but ’love of neighbor’. Second, can you really believe that God would prefer that I love my neighbor another day, and not today? Just how important, in the hierarchy of laws and traditions, is love of neighbor? Is any of the Law of Moses superior to love of neighbor? What is God’s mind in this question? As St. Paul says, "Who knows the mind of the Lord?...We have the mind of Christ" (1 Cor 2, 16). Christians by baptism believe that the mind of Christ is the mind of God. From what we know of Jesus, we know that he thinks that love has its supreme place, even if the price he must pay for loving his neighbor is death. Acts 3, 17 states that ’you and your leaders put Jesus to death in ignorance’. That means to diminish guilt for the crucifixion of Jesus, but ultimately implies that only one person knows the mind of God. John Kilgallen, S.J.
Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.

Advertisement

Don't miss the best from America

Sign up for our Newsletter to get the Jesuit perspective on news, faith and culture.

The latest from america

The news from Ireland and the United States reminds us of Herod, of Pharaoh. What culture betrays its children?
The EditorsMay 26, 2018
A woman religious casts her ballot May 25 in Dublin as Ireland holds a referendum on its law on abortion. Voters went to the polls May 25 to decide whether to liberalize the country's abortion laws. (CNS photo/Alex Fraser, Reuters)
The repeal of Ireland's Eighth Amendment, which guarantees the right to life of the unborn, has passed with a nearly 2-1 margin.
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos testifies at a House Committee on Education and the Workforce, Tuesday, May 22, 2018, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
The Secretary of Education stirred up controversy when she said it was up to schools to decide if an undocumented student should be reported to authorities.
J.D. Long-GarcíaMay 25, 2018
Thousands gathered in Dublin May 12 to say "Love Both" and "Vote No" to abortion on demand. They were protesting abortion on demand in the forthcoming referendum May 25. (CNS photo/John McElroy)
“Priests and bishops get verbal abuse by being told, ‘How can you speak for women? You don’t know what it’s like!’”
America StaffMay 25, 2018