Jesus looked “around at them with anger and grieved at their hardness of heart.”

The Pharisees continue to observe Jesus as He enters the synagogue (Mk 3:1-6).  There He encounters a man with a withered hand.  Knowing that they wanted to see if He would break their sabbath rules, Jesus asks the Pharisees if it is lawful to do good and save lives on the sabbath.  Their silence leads to the emotions described above and the subsequent healing of the disabled man.  The Pharisees go out and immediately conspire with the Herodians to have Jesus killed.  Jesus was like us in all things but sin (Heb 4:15).  He had a full range of emotions, just as we do.  His righteous anger flared most often at the hypocrisy of those who fancy themselves religious or righteous but do are not true to such conviction which shows in their actions.  Apart from this episode, recall Jesus’ cleansing of the temple (Mk 11:15–19, 11:27–33, Mt 21:12–17, 21:23–27 and Lk 19:45–48, 20:1–8, Jn 2:13–16), His arriving after the death of Lazarus (Jn 11:38), and His denouncing of the scribes and Pharisees to the crowds just days before His death (Mt 23:1-36).  Jesus did not tolerate hypocrisy and neither should we — not in ourselves, not in others, and not in society.  Fr. Hardon’s definition of hypocrisy is helpful here: “A form of lying in which a person pretends to have virtues or moral qualities that are not possessed.  Its motive is pride and its malice depends on the gravity of the pride and on the evil consequences that follow when people take one to be morally good and, perhaps, entrust one with confidences or responsibilities that are not deserved.  It is not hypocrisy, however, to be on one’s best behavior with those whom one justly wishes to impress favorably.  Nor is it hypocrisy when a person, because of human weakness, fails to live up to his or her own principles or profession of faith.”  We are correct to have a righteous anger at true hypocrisy, we should grieve at the hardness of heart that always accompanies it, and we should call it out when we see it and be prepared to confront and correct it.  This challenge confronts us more and more each day as our society pays lip service to compassion and religious freedom while killing our children in the womb and, increasingly, our elderly and sick, all the while narrowing our religious rights.  We know the Lord can get angry.  How do you think he’s feeling about now?  And what are we doing to alleviate His grief?

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