Today’s Gospel reading shows us a side of Jesus which many of us probably overlook often when reading the Bible or going to Mass. At some points during His ministry, Jesus showed anger.
Looking around at them with anger and grieved at their hardness of heart, he said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out and his hand was restored. — Mark 3:5
There are two kinds of anger: anger that is born of a great, genuine love and anger that is born of pride or selfishness.
Jesus’ anger was due to the hardness of the hearts of the Pharisees towards the man with a withered hand and their evil intent. Yet, His anger was caused by a deep love that He also grieved. Jesus’ anger was also not directed at the Pharisees, but at their sin. Recalling what Jesus said when He was crucified, we can see that Jesus was never angry at sinners, but at their sins:
Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, they know not what they do.” — Luke 23:34
Furthermore, the fruit of Jesus’ anger toward the indifference and self-righteousness of the Pharisees was the healing of the man with the withered hand. Jesus made use of His anger by doing good and restoring the man’s withered hand.
On the other hand, the Pharisees were angry at Jesus because of their pride and self-righteousness. While they were the ones who knew the Law given to Moses, they couldn’t accept the signs that Jesus was fulfilling as the Messiah. They also feared losing their stature in the eyes of the people as more and more people were following Jesus. This anger led them to plot against Jesus to put Him to death.
We cannot avoid feeling angry. But, let us first ask God and ourselves what the cause of our anger is. Is it caused by love or by selfishness? Then, let us use our anger to do good for others and not to cause harm.
In all circumstances, especially in times of anger, let us pray and ask for God’s guidance and wisdom to know and to do what is right in His eyes.