The Greatest Good

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There may be confusion about something St. Paul says in today’s first reading from Colossians. “…in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ on behalf of his Body, which is the Church…” Some may take this to mean that Christ’s suffering was lacking, or insufficient. That would be wrong. Christ’s suffering was sufficient and complete for our salvation. St. Paul is referring to the suffering of Christ’s Body, the Church. Our sufferings are not yet complete, and St. Paul simply adds his into the mix.

In the Gospel reading from Luke 6, Jesus heals a man with a withered hand. He does this in the synagogue, and on the sabbath, to boot. The scribes and Pharisees were naturally incensed. This was “working” on the sabbath, against the law. But Jesus asks them a question, “Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath rather than to do evil, to save life rather than to destroy it?” Jesus “broke the law” because it was the right thing to do.

Here’s an analogy. (Imperfect, as all my analogies are.) You walk by a property with a big sign on it that says NO TRESPASSING! VIOLATORS WILL BE PROSECUTED! But you notice that someone is on the property and has broken their leg and can’t move and needs help. What do you do? You’re not allowed on the property. To go on would be breaking the law. I hope you would go help the person in need, even though doing so would be against the law. Because while obeying the law is good, this would accomplish the greatest good.

Father, help us to always do the right, to seek the greatest good. Amen.

Today's Readings

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