JULY 16. Ord Time B. Wk.15. Fri. Mt.12. 1-8
Updated: Sep 10
Jesus took a walk one sabbath day through the cornfields. His disciples were hungry and began to pick ears of corn and eat them. The Pharisees noticed it and said to him, ‘Look, your disciples are doing something that is forbidden on the sabbath.’ But he said to them, ‘Have you not read what David did when he and his followers were hungry – how he went into the house of God and how they ate the loaves of offering which neither he nor his followers were allowed to eat, but which were for the priests alone? Or again, have you not read in the Law that on the sabbath day the Temple priests break the sabbath without being blamed for it? Now here, I tell you, is something greater than the Temple. And if you had understood the meaning of the words: What I want is mercy, not sacrifice, you would not have condemned the blameless. For the Son of Man is master of the sabbath.’
Today’s Gospel centres on the response of Jesus to the attitude of the Pharisees; - an attitude revealed in their statement; - “Look, your disciples are doing something that is forbidden on the sabbath!”
In the mind of the Pharisees; - the greatest concern was that the laws of the land be upheld!
In the mind of Jesus; - the greatest concern was that the welfare and needs of people be met!
And there we have the difference between Jesus and his detractors; - a difference of priority!
What Jesus was revealing to everybody but especially the Pharisees was a new way of living!
He was revealing the mind of God but; - as the Pharisees revealed; - their minds were closed!
They were not open to the ‘new’ teaching the needs of people takes precedence over any law!
Nor did they understand what Jesus was revealing to them was the mind of God; - and how different it was to the mind of man.
The Pharisees attitude to life was that the law must be obeyed, while Christ was teaching that love was to take precedence over law.
And he went on to articulate this change when he said “What I want is mercy, not sacrifice!”
The sacrifice he was referring to was that the law required people to be obedient and sacrifice their own needs!
The Mercy he was referring to flows from Love; - where the focus was on meeting the needs of people; - rather than obeying the Law!
The Pharisees, sadly, were blind to the whole concept of Love, while the purpose of Christ’s life was to reveal the Love and Mercy of God!
If the Pharisees been prepared to learn from Jesus the two different views could have been reconciled, as Christ also demanded obedience; - but obedience to God, rather than man!
The Pharisees were just as blind to the concept of Obedience to God as they were to Love!
Gospel Acclamation Jn10:27
My sheep listen to my voice, says the Lord;
I know them, and they follow me.
First reading Exodus 11:10-12:14 The institution of the Passover
Moses and Aaron worked many wonders in the presence of Pharaoh. But the Lord made Pharaoh’s heart stubborn, and he did not let the sons of Israel leave his country.
The Lord said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt:
‘This month is to be the first of all the others for you, the first month of your year. Speak to the whole community of Israel and say, “On the tenth day of this month each man must take an animal from the flock, one for each family: one animal for each household. If the household is too small to eat the animal, a man must join with his neighbour, the nearest to his house, as the number of persons requires. You must take into account what each can eat in deciding the number for the animal. It must be an animal without blemish, a male one year old; you may take it from either sheep or goats. You must keep it till the fourteenth day of the month when the whole assembly of the community of Israel shall slaughter it between the two evenings. Some of the blood must then be taken and put on the two doorposts and the lintel of the houses where it is eaten. That night, the flesh is to be eaten, roasted over the fire; it must be eaten with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. Do not eat any of it raw or boiled, but roasted over the fire, head, feet and entrails. You must not leave any over till the morning: whatever is left till morning you are to burn. You shall eat it like this: with a girdle round your waist, sandals on your feet, a staff in your hand. You shall eat it hastily: it is a passover in honour of the Lord. That night, I will go through the land of Egypt and strike down all the first-born in the land of Egypt, man and beast alike, and I shall deal out punishment to all the gods of Egypt. I am the Lord! The blood shall serve to mark the houses that you live in. When I see the blood I will pass over you and you shall escape the destroying plague when I strike the land of Egypt. This day is to be a day of remembrance for you, and you must celebrate it as a feast in the Lord’s honour. For all generations you are to declare it a day of festival, for ever.”’