JULY 16. Ord Time B. Wk.15. Fri. Mt.12. 1-8
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.