October 31, 2014

The Gospel Today

Friday of the Thirtieth Week in Ordinary Time

Luke 10: 17-24

On a sabbath Jesus went to dine
at the home of one of the leading Pharisees,
and the people there were observing him carefully.
In front of him there was a man suffering from dropsy.
Jesus spoke to the scholars of the law and Pharisees in reply, asking,
“Is it lawful to cure on the sabbath or not?”
But they kept silent; so he took the man and,
after he had healed him, dismissed him.
Then he said to them
“Who among you, if your son or ox falls into a cistern,
would not immediately pull him out on the sabbath day?”
But they were unable to answer his question.

Reflection (Sem. Eldrick Peña):

The Gospel invites us to reflect on this fundamental question: “Which is more important, to keep the law, or to practice love and compassion?       “

As a former administrator in a Catholic University, I would at many times, be confronted with this question especially on deciding on the fate of my students – “Will I pass student A because he is diligent in attending class although he is weak academically?” “Will I consider the excuse given by student B for not being able to take a periodic quiz?” “Will I give consideration for this absentee student?” were some of the questions that would bog me days before the submission of grades.   And looking back, I am again confronted with the question, “Had I been compassionate enough?” or “Had I been too rigid in observing academic policies?”

Laws are there to serve humanity and promote the common good.  Laws are created for man, and not the other way around.  Sometimes, we become too rigid in observing the law thus, missing on what is really essential. Laws are there to liberate, rather than oppress and enslave us.  Our rigidity in following the laws sometimes leads us towards a Pharisical attitude – The law has to be followed – to the letter!

I remember the homily I heard just recently.  The priest was on his way for a sick call in a nearby hospital.  Since it was an emergency, the priest asked the driver to take a u-turn on a no u-turn slot so they could immediately reach the hospital but because of the driver’s fear of violating the law, he did not listen to the priest and insisted on following the usual route to the hospital.  When they reached the hospital, they were 3-minute short of seeing the patient still alive.  How regretful.

Sometimes our priorities lead us to pay attention to more trivial things while we neglect the things that really matters.  The invitation for us is to always extend love and compassion at all times because the law of love and compassion surpasses all laws.

Have you loved and cared much?

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