Fr Paul reads from the Gospel of Luke (6: 6-11) in which the Pharisees question Jesus about healing on the Sabbath and he responds asking, “Is it against the law on the Sabbath to do good or to do evil, to save life or to destroy it?”.

Fr Paul says this is a second story about the authority of Jesus to break the Sabbath. The story is a little puzzling, because it is a recognised principle of the Sabbath law that to save an endangered life almost any law may be broken. So, the question then arises whether the withered hand was indeed life-threatening.

In reality, Jesus is going beyond the process of how the law works and heals the man simply out of sheer love for him.

The question Jesus asks at the end of the Gospel is purely rhetorical, as there is no question of doing any evil or of killing. The healing Jesus brings to the world is more important than any observance of ritual law. This act of love leaves his opponents bewildered and hostile, with the suggestion that they are so bound up by the Law that to break the command of the Sabbath for such a reason is simply beyond their comprehension.

Mindful of what Jesus does today for our reflection, Fr Paul say we might ask ourselves, ‘Like Jesus, what act of love can I do in my life today?’