On a certain sabbath Jesus went into the synagogue and taught, and there was a man there whose right hand was withered. The scribes and the Pharisees watched him closely to see if he would cure on the sabbath so that they might discover a reason to accuse him. But he realized their intentions and said to the man with the withered hand, “Come up and stand before us.” And he rose and stood there. Then Jesus said to them, “I ask you, is it lawful to do good on the sabbath rather than to do evil, to save life rather than to destroy it?” Looking around at them all, he then said to him, “Stretch out your hand.” He did so and his hand was restored. But they became enraged and discussed together what they might do to Jesus.
In today's Gospel, we read that Jesus and the Pharisees had another conflict on a Sabbath day. In the synagogue, there was a man with a withered hand. The man was suffering from a chronic disease. Jesus could have healed him the next day, but Jesus was fully aware of what the Pharisees were thinking. Not only did He heal the man on the sabbath, He even asked him to stand out in the middle. He wanted everyone to see what was about to happen.
Before healing the man, Jesus asked: "Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath rather than to do evil, to save life rather than to destroy it?" The answer to this question is so obvious. But for the Pharisees, they only concerned about the other question: "Is it right to obey the Law or to violate it?" For them the Law, even the letter of the Law, was paramount. Jesus used this opportunity to teach everyone that what is legal may not necessarily be moral. What is moral sometimes transcends the law and may even contradict the law.
St. Augustine had once said: "An unjust law is no law at all." As Christians, we should do everything with charity. If we are forced to choose between charity and obeying the Law, may the Lord grant us courage to choose charity. That was what Jesus chose as well.