August 26, 2013

The Gospel Today 

Monday of the Twenty-first Week in Ordinary Time

Mt. 23:13-22

Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples:
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites.
You lock the Kingdom of heaven before men.
You do not enter yourselves,
nor do you allow entrance to those trying to enter.

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites.
You traverse sea and land to make one convert,
and when that happens you make him a child of Gehenna
twice as much as yourselves.

“Woe to you, blind guides, who say,
‘If one swears by the temple, it means nothing,
but if one swears by the gold of the temple, one is obligated.’
Blind fools, which is greater, the gold,
or the temple that made the gold sacred?
And you say, ‘If one swears by the altar, it means nothing,
but if one swears by the gift on the altar, one is obligated.’
You blind ones, which is greater, the gift,
or the altar that makes the gift sacred?
One who swears by the altar swears by it and all that is upon it;
one who swears by the temple swears by it
and by him who dwells in it;
one who swears by heaven swears by the throne of God
and by him who is seated on it.”

Reflection (Sem. Herwyn Bulaun):

            When a person’s action differs from his word, he has dual personality. In today’s Gospel Jesus denounces the Scribes and Pharisees because of the inconsistencies between their teachings and their lives. They strictly follow the letters of the law to the point that their lives revolve around it and they forget a very essential aspect of the law. They emphasized the literal sense of the law more than the spirit of the laws. In the process, they lost the essentials of the law like compassion, mercy and love. God delights not on burnt offerings but on our love and service for others.

While I was still working, there were company policies which I bend sometimes to accommodate the request of employees and staff. For instance, when a person is caught for neglect of duty and is due for termination because of repeated behavior, I would give the person a chance provided that he would never be involved in any breach of trust. More so, he should improve himself.

Laws are there to guide our actions and conduct.  They are made for us to live harmoniously. However, they should not stop us in treating our neighbors as brothers and sisters. As Christians, we are challenged to act with compassion and mercy beyond what the law requires. Jesus gave an example of how we should act beyond laws and that is total self-giving.

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