Homily (Reflection) for Friday of the Fifteenth Week in Ordinary Time (I) (21st July, 2017) on the Gospel
Ex 11:10–12:14;
Ps 115:12-13.15-18. (R. v.13);
Matt 12:1-8.
Topic: Beyond letters of law.
The Pharisees complained to Jesus when His disciples plucked and ate heads of grain on the sabbath. Jesus cited how David and his men ate the bread of the Presence when in need and that “priests in the temple break the sabbath and yet are guiltless”. He went further, “But if you had known what this means, ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the guiltless.”
Many who are guiltless have been judged and condemned without mercy even in the church. We are to be merciful as our Father is merciful, cf. Lk 6:36. Jesus teaches, “Do not judge, and you will not be judged; do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven; give, and it will be given to you” (Lk 6:37-38a; cf. Matt 7:1-2).
The Pharisees condemned Jesus’ disciples based on the letters of the law, cf. Ex 20: 8, 10. However, they neglected the weightier matters of the law – justice, mercy, and faith, cf. Matt 23:23. Saint James warns, “For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy; yet mercy triumphs over judgment” (Jas 2:13). We ought to be cautious how we judge and condemn others. Mercy is not found in the letters of law.
Bible Reading: Jas 1:19-27.
Thought for today: God desires mercy.
Let us pray: May mercy, peace, and love be ours in abundance – Amen (Jude 1:2).
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