Rise up into the midst of us.
The poor and the sick are on the margins. We’d rather not see them.
In Jesus’ time, the sick, especially those with deformed limbs, were ostracized and liv dint eh shadows of society. And so, when Jesus calls on the man with the withered hand, he calls him out of the shadows and into the light of the community.
How often do I avoid the sick, those with physical or mental illness? I’d rather not see them, since their presence may make demands on me, demands of love and solidarity. They make me uncomfortable, perhaps reminding me of the unseen deformities in my life.
But Jesus calls the man with the withered hand out into the middle.
Sadly, most English-speakers will not here this message. The New American Bible translates the passage as ““Come up here before us.” The New Revised Standard Version renders it as ““Come forward.”
But the Greek is much more direct: Ἔγειρε εἰς τὸ μέσον – Rise up out into the middle.
In Spanish this is translated as “Ponte en medio” – “Put yourself in the middle.”
Only the Jerusalem Bible translation gets this: “Stand up out into the middle.”
The sick and the poor must be in the middle of our lives as followers of Christ the healer.