11 Sept 2017: Silence is not always prudent

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Monday of the Twenty-third Week in Ordinary Time

Reading 1: Col. 1:24–2:3; Gospel: Lk. 6: 6-11

In today’s Gospel passage we see Jesus performing the miracle of healing the man with a withered hand on a Sabbath day. Before healing Jesus asks the people who had gathered together in the Synagogue a question: “Is it lawful to do good or to do harm on a Sabbath? To save life or to preserve life?” The evangelist doesn’t give an answer for that question. The people were silent. They knew that it was noble to do good and to save life on Sabbath. But they preferred to be silent because they knew that any support of Jesus would bring them on the bad side of the Pharisees and Sadducees who were looking for a chance to attack Jesus. In modern terms, the people didn’t want to get into unnecessary trouble even if it is at the cost of a silence before the truth. Jesus didn’t keep silence; rather he healed the man with withered hand thus violating the clutches of religious structures. This miracle forms a part of a number of controversies that Jesus had in his ministry in the initial stages. In all these controversies Jesus dared to speak against the oppressive and unjust human structures whether it be religious or cultural and put humanitarian concerns above the constrains of the law. Jesus dared to speak the truth and stand for the truth. During the trial of Jesus Pilate asked him: What is the truth? It is a compliment for Jesus as Pilate understood that the person standing in front of him is one who knows what is the truth. As the oft quoted saying goes, ‘the world is at risk not because of the noise of the evil people but the silence of the good.’ Silence is not always prudent. A disciple of Jesus cannot close his mouth when he/she sees injustice and violation of human rights around. A Christian cannot be mum fearing the ‘Sadducees and Pharisees’ of today. Whenever there is saving life, preserving life and doing good, like Jesus, a Christian should stand for the truth realizing that truth always triumphs: Satyameva Jayathe.

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