Jesus heals the man with the withered hand in Mark 3:1-6. I was reflecting on this in my daily lectio recently and was struck by the Lord’s two emotions in the passage:
He looked around at them with anger; he was grieved at their hardness of heart …
I wonder if we are not shown the holy way out of anger, a feeling I find I’m having some difficulties with these days. J. Ruth Gendler had the measure of anger in her fine book of many years ago.
Anger sharpens kitchen knives at the local supermarket on the last Wednesday of the month. His face is scarred from adolescent battles. He has never been very popular.
Anger is trying to gain Truth’s friendship and respect. Anger is a meticulous reporter. He is accurate about details and insists on the facts. He never lies, but he rarely understands anyone else’s point of view.
And this track led me to a deeper look at Grief:
One day at the edge of the firest Grief heard another woman crying out. She spoke with her. She listened to her story. Grief was surprised. She had never met anyone else who had suffered as she had.
After a long day and night of mourning and crying, Grief was “washed clean of her tears.”
The confrontation of Jesus with the Pharisees over healing on the Sabbath is not really a parable, like Ms Gendler’s stories of Anger and Grief. But looking deeply, it is a teachable moment for the believer. Anger can easily lead to more and deeper alienation, the scars of juvenile outbursts, and the like. The difference, it seems, is one of listening and perception. This seems difficult, at least for me.
How do I listen to the people with whom I’m angry? And then, how do I find the courage to grieve? I don’t have any answers to that. It might take a whole Lent to figure it out.