Merciful Sacrifice Missed

July 21, 2017
Friday of the Fifteenth Week in Ordinary Time
The Gospel Today
Matthew 12:1-8

Jesus was going through a field of grain on the sabbath.
His disciples were hungry
and began to pick the heads of grain and eat them.
When the Pharisees saw this, they said to him,
“See, your disciples are doing what is unlawful to do on the sabbath.”
He said to the them, “Have you not read what David did
when he and his companions were hungry,
how he went into the house of God and ate the bread of offering,
which neither he nor his companions
but only the priests could lawfully eat?
Or have you not read in the law that on the sabbath
the priests serving in the temple violate the sabbath
and are innocent?
I say to you, something greater than the temple is here.
If you knew what this meant, I desire mercy, not sacrifice,
you would not have condemned these innocent men.
For the Son of Man is Lord of the sabbath.”

REFLECTION (Sem. Tristan Ralf Q. Pacheco)

It has been three years now since an unforgettable incident happened. I have been appointed the main organizer’s counterpart in the grand parish Santacruzan. I was responsible in assigning active youth ministry members to portray some of the characters in the parade. I observed that our society has this notion that Santacruzans were parades of beauty and fashion. I was assigned to look for persons who will be given the not-so-fashionable characters. Thinking that it would be a great chance to evangelize, I took up the task with joy.

I searched for those who were willing to portray the Roman soldiers with uncomfortable costumes aside from the helmets which will just cover up their faces. I also searched for persons who will portray Moses and Methuselah who will be wearing heavy cloaks and will be fitted with beards that will make them look old. Also those who will be portraying Adam and Eve that will be paraded wearing plastic leaves sewn to the clothing. Imagine parading in the whole town wearing those costumes while other participants are wearing the gowns and crowns. To cut the story short, it was a heavy burden for me to find and convince our youth members, but through persistence, I managed.

Then came the day of the event. As the characters were parading, I was there beside them being a “stage kuya”. On one of the stops in the parade, an energetic man carrying a box passed by distributing bottles of cold water for the Santacruzan characters. Feeling the exhaustion, I asked for a bottle. The man politely denied me one, reasoning out that it was only for the characters. Hearing that, I became impatient. I remembered the hardships I endured in finding people who will be portraying the characters and I have narrated it to the man, in an irritated voice. The man was surprised at my reaction and handed me a bottle of ice cold water before leaving me. As I was drinking the water, I realized the awful thing I have done, and I was left in remorse. I could have just offered my thirst to Jesus, and surely, I could have made Him happier.

“I desire mercy, not sacrifice.” said Jesus in the Gospel. These words remind me that my sacrifice is nothing without me being merciful. I am not disheartened despite my failings, I trust in God’s grace and I hope not to miss another opportunity to be merciful.

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