It important to keep in mind that the Jewish proscriptions Jesus intentionally violated were as much cultural and social boundaries as they were religious “laws.” By healing the sick on the sabbath, Jesus eschewed the core beliefs of his time. Do you see someone doing likewise today? At what cost? Are you willing to acknowledge that our religion and our society have certain norms which may act as prohibitions against reaching out to heal others?
Undoubtedly it can be frightening to act against the norms of one’s culture, which we often internalize as unquestionably true. Despite the warnings from the priests and those “in the know,” Jesus transcended fear of what others may think of him. He drew upon God to find strength to peacefully move ahead with what he knew was right, though it came at the cost of a whisper campaign against him, followed by a much worse fate.
—Matt Kemper is the Director of Community Service at St. Xavier High School in Cincinnati.