In the first reading, Ezekiel's vision of the life-giving waters of the River of God and the healing waters of the Sheep Pool in the Gospel reading may initially lull us into a mood of contentment. The behavior of some of the Jews after Jesus' healing of the sick man jars that mood.
Fault was found with the man's carrying of his mat, a violation of the sabbath. In light of the circumstances, we might say: How unfeeling and legalistic! These same persons began to persecute Jesus because God, and only God, remains active on the sabbath, keeping all things in existence. Jesus' activity and directives on the sabbath thus lay claim to equality with the Father. We might say: What persistent unbelief!
Well, "some of the Jews," move over and make room for us within your ranks! We might ask ourselves: Do I find it easier simply to quote a law rather than to interpret the law according to the circumstances of the situation? Do I fail to give credit or virtually deny God's influence in the actions of those I find difficult? At times, we all have a pharisaical streak within us.
To whom do we look for guidance? Jesus, of course. The miracles,
the mighty works, that accompanied these sabbath "violations," were not
performed merely to impress, to substantiate Christ's divinity, but to
respond to human needs. Only by such response on our parts, can we
judge what is best in life's situations and can we suspend judgment of
others in light of the mystery of God's grace. Only by such response
to the needs of others can we immerse ourselves in the healing and life-giving
waters of God's love.