YEAR B: HOMILY FOR FRIDAY OF THE FIFTEENTH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME
HOMILY THEME: I DESIRE MERCY NOT SACRIFICE
BY: Fr. Benny Tuazon
(Mt. 12:1-8) Friday of the Fifteenth Week in Ordinary Time
In today’s Gospel Jesus confronts the issue on the Sabbath. Jews, as part of their religious responsibility, must pay respect to the Sabbath. The Pharisees had set a lot of restrictions and allowable things to do on Sabbath day. Thus, when Jesus and His disciples were caught harvesting grains, an act forbidden by the Sabbath, they were questioned. Jesus took the opportunity to teach on the real essence of the Sabbath.
“I desire mercy, not sacrifice.” This, more or less, summarizes the Sabbath and legal issues. The responsibility of the Jew is not merely to follow the law but flail its spirit as well. The implementing laws made for the Sabbath, like limiting one’s actions and not doing certain things, were meant to encourage the full practice and essential meaning of the Sabbath Law. The sabbath was to fulfil God’s command to render sacred a certain day so as to commune with God and spiritually fortify oneself in the coming days. However, it should not hinder one from living a regular life much more do acts of charity when the situation calls for it. More than the law, love for others and care for oneself should be considered.
This is one great difference between God’s laws and man’s laws. While ignorance is not an excuse in man’s laws, God understands our lack and weakness. While the legal community can throw the book at you, God is patient for you to read and understand the law. The fulfillment of the law by doing and following it is not the height of faith. It is in being able to see beyond it for the sake of man’s well-being. Later, Jesus will declare that, Sabbath was made for man and not man for Sabbath.” The law is in the service of man. Whenever the law does not anymore serve the benefit of man, it does not mean that the law was wrong, but the law was wanting.
The key here is a close relationship with Jesus and imbibing the Christian essence of love. With Jesus and love, we can never go wrong.