The Gospel Today
Wednesday of the Twenty-eighth Week in Ordinary Time
The Lord said:
“Woe to you Pharisees!
You pay tithes of mint and of rue and of every garden herb,
but you pay no attention to judgment and to love for God.
These you should have done, without overlooking the others.
Woe to you Pharisees!
You love the seat of honor in synagogues
and greetings in marketplaces.
Woe to you!
You are like unseen graves over which people unknowingly walk.”
Then one of the scholars of the law said to him in reply,
“Teacher, by saying this you are insulting us too.”
And he said, “Woe also to you scholars of the law!
You impose on people burdens hard to carry,
but you yourselves do not lift one finger to touch them.”
Reflection (Sem. Rodel D. Aclan)
“These you should have done without overlooking the others.” Jesus admonished the Pharisees because they have become more focused on performing their religious rituals and obligations than in doing things that would make them grow more in love of God. They should have observed the religious laws and rituals without neglecting the Giver of the law and the object of their rituals, God.
As a seminarian, I was struck by these words of our Lord Jesus and led me to reflect on my priorities as a seminarian and how I live my everyday life here in the seminary. Am I neglecting the very reason why I am here, which is to respond to the love of God by heeding the call to the priesthood? Are the demands of academics and community life overshadowing my spiritual life? Are my actions leading me towards loving God as I know Him more through the subjects about Him, and in my relation with others?
The Gospel today reminds me not to overlook the most important in my seminary life; that is, to deepen and strengthen the love I have for God, and all else are secondary. The academic grades, discipline and sophisticated knowledge of many things are nothing and useless for my own salvation if I will not grow in love of God.
True love and worship of God is always more than our act of worship of Him like community prayer, devotion and other liturgical acts. True love of God is when with all our heart we are able to do good to the least of our brethren: the poor, homeless, handicapped and the marginalized. True love of God is our humble acceptance of our brokenness before Him as the book of Psalm said, “For sacrifice you take no delight; a humble contrite heart you will not spurn.”