Daily Reflection
January 22nd, 2003
Steve Kline
Public Relations
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Hebrews 7:1-3, 15-17
Psalm 110:1, 2, 3, 4
Mark 3:1-6

“It is even more obvious if another priest is raised up after the likeness of Melchizedek,  who has become so, not by a law expressed in a commandment concerning physical descent but by the power of a life that cannot be destroyed.”
-- Hebrews 7:15-16

“Looking around at them with anger and grieved at their hardness of heart, he said to the man, ‘Stretch out your hand.’ He stretched it out and his hand was restored.”
-- Mark 3:5

The Authority of the Loving Heart

The authority of the loving heart, the rule of compassion, the law of mercy, derive from our loving God and were established long before any human law was conceived.

I believe this ageless authority exerts its power upon me when my heart is moved to help someone in difficulty or pain, or when it is broken over the misfortune of another.  Of course, God loves me so deeply that He leaves me free to heed or defy this authority.  My heart is about as hard as I want it to be.  God lets me be responsible for that.

In today’s Gospel story, Jesus heals, heeding the authority of the loving heart.

It’s too easy to share in Jesus’ anger and be indignant about the Pharisees’ behavior in today’s reading from Mark.  If I am honest with myself, I have to admit that I’m not so different from those Pharisees.

Have I ever looked for a way to fault a good deed simply because I held some dislike for the doer?  Of course I have.  I don’t like that aspect of my personality, but there’s no hope for change tomorrow if I can’t honestly appraise what I am today.  These things are not hidden from God, anyway, no matter how much I’d like to think otherwise.  I might be able to fool myself or you about it for a little while.  That doesn’t change the truth.

No wonder the Pharisees hate Jesus so.  He’s an immensely popular healer, asking humiliating questions.  He doesn’t even bother to defend himself.  He simply says, “Stretch out your hand” and heals.  How pathetic and impotent the Pharisees must feel as Jesus looks lovingly upon the man whose hand is restored.  

Isn’t it ironic that the fate plotted by the Pharisees, death to Jesus, is precisely what they are powerless to inflict?   Remember what we’re dealing with in Jesus:  “The power of a life that cannot be destroyed.”

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