If you have a heart attack and you need to get to the hospital quickly for treatment, and the day when your heart attack happened is on the sabbath, would you go to the hospital quickly as planned, or would you say, "It's the sabbath, so I will go the next day"? Or if your house is on fire and you need to rescue your family, but the fire is raging on the Sabbath, would you go ahead and rescue your family? Or would you say: "Oh no! It's the Sabbath. I will rescue the family tomorrow."? Or supposing it is the sabbath and your son has been bitten by a snake, and he will die if you do not bring him to the hospital quickly for immediate treatment, would you still insist that it is the sabbath, and you would rather observe the sabbath come what may, even if it means your son will die?
These examples and many more show us the hypocrisy and absurdness of the synagogue official and the Pharisees in today's Gospel, when it comes to observing the sabbath. Common sense would tell us that we should take action and perform works of mercy and do good things on the sabbath, since lives are in mortal danger as can be seen in the examples above. And yet, the synagogue official and the Pharisees could be still covered with confusion when such emergencies happen. What does this show us? It shows that the synagogue official and the Pharisees have become so distorted and extreme in their thinking, that it is illegal or sinful to be merciful, loving and compassionate even on the sabbath.
If we look at ourselves, have some of us become like the synagogue official and Pharisees? Are we washing our hands of our responsibilities as Christians, when there is an emergency or great need for help on the Lord's Day? May we come to realise the real and true meaning of the sabbath, and in all we say and do, give glory to God.