Readings for Friday July 16, 2010
First Reading: Isaiah 38:1-6,21-22,7-8
Responsorial Psalm: Isaiah 38:10,11,12,16
Gospel: Matthew 12:1-8
Jesus was going through a field of grain on the sabbath. His disciples were hungry and began to pick the heads of grain and eat them. When the Pharisees saw this, they said to him, "See, your disciples are doing what is unlawful to do on the sabbath." He said to the them, "Have you not read what David did when he and his companions were hungry, how he went into the house of God and ate the bread of offering, which neither he nor his companions but only the priests could lawfully eat? Or have you not read in the law that on the sabbath the priests serving in the temple violate the sabbath and are innocent? I say to you, something greater than the temple is here. If you knew what this meant, 'I desire mercy, not sacrifice,' you would not have condemned these innocent men. For the Son of Man is Lord of the sabbath." (Mt 12:1-8)
"I desire mercy, not sacrifice." These are some of the words that Jesus uses to justify His disciples behavior. It was clear that the Pharisees were not too interested in having mercy on a bunch of hungry men, instead they were only out to uphold their version of the sabbath. Jesus points out that they are quick to condemn, and instead they need to be quick with mercy.
We must remember that love is the greatest of all virtues, it should be the paradigm of which we work out of. If the Pharisees had been working with the mindset of love, then they would have had mercy for the disciples; and we can bet that a whole lot of other things would not have happened as well. Because their hearts were closed off to love they were not able to have mercy, nor were they able to recognize that God, who is love, is right before them.
We are here on this earth to love and be loved, that is our purpose. While there is nothing wrong with sacrifice (Lord knows we could all stand to do a little more of it), it cannot supersede love and mercy.
Father above, we thank you and praise you for the gift of this day. Lord, thank you for all of your blessings in our lives. We were created by you and for you, help us to always recognize our need for you. Help us to always remember that everything we have is yours, help us to be good stewards of this life that you give us. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.