Of Laws and Men

7 September 2019. Saturday of the Twenty-second Week in Ordinary Time

Reflection (Sem. Richard Anthony Lim)

Do I insist on observance of the letter

I once read a story about a girl asking her mom why they always chopped off the head and tail of the fish when preparing a particular dish. The mom told the girl that it has always been so because it was how she was taught by her own mother. And so, the girl went to her grandmother to ask the same question, and she received the same answer. Her great grandmother was still alive, and the girl went to her to ask her about the dish. Her great grandmother laughed and told her that she did so because the fish was usually larger than her cooking pan.

The Gospel reminds me of that story. Often, we become too focused on rules and enforcing them that we do not bother to revisit the true intention behind those rules. In the seminary, we also get caught up in following traditions that we neglect to check how they came about in the first place. There is wisdom behind the practices that we follow, but by blindly following everything that came before us, we have also stunted creativity, growth and innovation. We only see how other seminarians violate the rules. Jesus reminds us in today’s Gospel that there is also wisdom in considering the welfare of others before enforcing laws and traditions. What is more important is how we are following our Lord. How is my relationship with Jesus? When we go to Mass, do we attend to give glory to the Lord of the Sabbath, or are we just fulfilling a requirement or obligation?

The Gospel Today
Luke 6:1-5

While Jesus was going through a field of grain on a sabbath,
his disciples were picking the heads of grain,
rubbing them in their hands, and eating them.
Some Pharisees said,
“Why are you doing what is unlawful on the sabbath?”
Jesus said to them in reply,
“Have you not read what David did
when he and those who were with him were hungry?
How he went into the house of God, took the bread of offering,
which only the priests could lawfully eat,
ate of it, and shared it with his companions?”
Then he said to them, “The Son of Man is lord of the sabbath.”

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