Fr Paul reads from the Gospel of Mark (3: 1-6) in which Jesus is in the synagogue on the Sabbath and cures the man with the withered hand.

Fr Paul says, today we hear the last of five events of controversy in Galilee. These five events, or controversies, are between Jesus and the Jewish authorities.

Later in Mark’s Gospel he will group together another five controversies, again with the Jewish authorities, except this time they will take place in Jerusalem. Fr Paul says, we feel the tension building in this Gospel until, at the end, there is the hint of a death threat: how do they destroy him.

So even at the beginnings of Mark’s Gospel, which we are reading from, there is already a shadow hanging over Jesus. We have moved from discussing legal observance, which is how we started and is quite common in Judaism, to this new dimension of destroying Jesus.

Fr Paul says, we hear in today’s Gospel about the cure of the man with the withered hand and, for our reflection, he invites us to think ‘What needs the healing touch of Jesus in my life at the moment?’