Scribbles, &c.

But they remained silent

The Gospel reading (Mark 3:1-6) tells the last of a series of encounters between the Lord and the Pharisees in Caparnaum. He has healed a paralytic, dined with sinners, forgiven sins, and – in their eyes – profaned the Sabbath. Their reaction has changed from awe, to anger, and finally, to conspiracy with others in common cause. The final straw was the restoration of a man’s withered hand. The law allowed for the saving of a life on the Sabbath, but this man was not in imminent danger.

The Lord, knowing their thoughts puts the question to them: is it lawful to do good or evil on the Sabbath? His response to their silence is to heal the man with a word. So intent were they on catching a violation of the rule, it escaped notice that the very source (and fulfillment) of the Law stood before them.

The tools of piety are not ends in themselves. They should point the way to the true end, or they threaten to imprison us by our own shortsightedness. Focusing too closely on minutiae risks trapping us in an endless feedback loop of examination and correction. Like the Pharisees, we will ultimately be unable to pin down the Son of Man, however purely are intentions began before descending into a madness of our own making. He will not find the way out - He is the way out, and we have but to conform ourselves to his will to follow.