Homily September 11th, 2023

Monday of the Twenty-third Week in Ordinary Time – Option 2 – Lk 6:6-11

What happens in today’s Gospel can take us by surprise: the scribes and the Pharisees wait to see if Jesus will heal a man with a withered hand, and, when He does, they “become enraged.” It doesn’t seem to make much sense, but there are two words that Luke uses that show us exactly what it going on and which offer us something to reflect upon. These words in English are “intentions” and “enraged.”

First, Luke tells us Christ “realized their intentions.” A more literal translation would be, “He knew their thoughts.” The verb to know is in the imperfect, meaning, at every time and everywhere, Christ knew what they were thinking. However, the important word is thoughts. Luke uses the word διαλογισμός (dialogismόs), which is a very specific type of thought. It means “‘back-and-forth reasoning’ – reasoning that is self-based and therefore confused.”[1] This sort of thought doesn’t check with others or even with reality. The scribes and the Pharisees are trapped in their minds, in the way that they see things, without taking the time to check to see if those thoughts really correspond with the way things are.

Secondly, Luke tells us that after the miracle, the group “became enraged.” Again, the evangelist uses a very specific word: ἄνοια (an’-oy-ah), from a, meaning no, and nous, meaning mind. Literally, then, it means “‘no-mind’ referring to irrational behavior ([or] mindless actions).”[2] It means to be so angry that you simply can’t think at all. This is where the scribes and the Pharisees end up, because they closed their minds within themselves. After that, it’s only a short step before they lose their minds entirely in anger.

Here is an important lesson for us as Christians but especially as religious. Through the prophet Isaiah God tells us “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, my thoughts higher than your thoughts” (Is 55:8). Our lives must be a constant consultation with the Lord, not only in prayer, but also by means of the people He has placed in our lives to guide us, like our superiors and our spiritual directors. Otherwise, we close our minds in on ourselves, thinking only about what we want or what we think is right, forgetting that it is God who really knows everything, and our job isn’t to always understand His will, but to do it. If we can accept that, then, like the man with the withered hand, Christ can restore us and give us the grace to help Him save souls.

Today, through the intercession Our Lady of Good Health, let us ask for the grace to always listen to God, both in prayer and through those He has given to guide us on the path to perfection.


[1] HELPS Word-studies 1261.

[2] HELPS Word-studies 454.

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