St. Paul had a radical conversion to Christianity. Remember, he was a persecutor of Christians before; a devout Jew. He never lost his love for his people. More on that in a moment. In our Gospel reading today, Jesus performs another healing on the sabbath, this time on a man with dropsy. He then asks the Pharisees and scholars of the law a question about having a heart for others. Check it out!
In today’s first reading from Romans 9, St. Paul tells his readers that “I have great sorrow and constant anguish in my heart.” He is referring to his people, the children of Israel. They have it all, including the Messiah. Yet so many of them fail to see and believe. St. Paul’s heart is so broken that he makes a very striking comment. “For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my own people.”
That is love. St. Paul said that he was willing to forfeit his own relationship with Christ for the sake of his people. Imagine it. It reminds me of being a husband and a parent. I hope that I would be willing to give up my very life for my wife and kids. But what about the rest of the world? What about those people who don’t believe as I do? Do I really have that kind of heart for others?
Father, you call us to give of ourselves not only to those that we love, but to all. Give us today a heart for others, Lord. Amen.