Jesus went into a synagogue, and there was a man there who had a withered hand. And they were watching him to see if he would cure him on the sabbath day, hoping for something to use against him. He said to the man with the withered hand, ‘Stand up out in the middle!’ Then he said to them, ‘Is it against the law on the sabbath day to do good, or to do evil; to save life, or to kill?’ But they said nothing. Then, grieved to find them so obstinate, he looked angrily round at them, and said to the man, ‘Stretch out your hand.’ He stretched it out and his hand was better. The Pharisees went out and at once began to plot with the Herodians against him, discussing how to destroy him. (Mark 3:1-6)
How can healing happen when there is anger and grief around? Surely, healing is about gentleness, calmness, sensitivity, peace, care, compassion. And yet, in the gospel reading, Jesus experiences anger. He’s grieved. He’s irritated by the obstinacy of those who surround him and who try to catch him out, who question him for doing good. There are many things in the world today that may cause us to rage. The disease of poverty and injustice, of racism and inequality and so many other things such as anger at the presence of sickness and suffering. We can and should be enraged at times about stuff that is wrong, things that unbalance life and bring grief. Jesus himself was angry at times but at the heart of his anger was his love of justice and peace, his love of the poor, and his compassion for those in need. Anger can be good if it’s source and aim is love.
God our Father, help us to recognise what makes us angry. May our anger be used in your service and to help transform the world with your justice. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.