Model of Mercy

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Greetings on this the Friday of the Fifteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Readings: Ex 11:10—12:14; PS 116:12-13, 15 and 16bc, 17-18; Mt 12:1-8
Notes: We are often encouraged to ‘be in the moment‘. It’s a very powerful instruction the Church enforces. In todays readings, we see that being in the moment also applies to judging the actions of others. To see the world as they see it. To apply mercy even in the most sacred of Laws.

First reading
In our Exodus reading today, the Lord gives the perpetual institution. The celebration of the liberation of the Hebrews from the Egyptians. Central to this liberation is the body and blood of the Paschal Lamb.

  • They shall eat of the Lamb flesh.
  • They shall sprinkle the blood of the Lamb on the doorposts and lintel.

In the Gospel, the Lord gives an updated perpetual institution. The celebration of the liberation of the Human Family from Sin. Central to this liberation is the body and blood of the Paschal Lamb.

  • They shall eat of the Lamb flesh (Eucharist).
  • They shall drink the blood of the Lamb (Precious Blood).
  • The height of the Holy Mass is a perpetual divine institution in the person of Jesus.

Responsorial Psalm
I will the cup of salvation, and call on the name of the Lord.

Alleluia Verse
My sheep hear my voice, says the Lord,
I know them, and they follow me.

Gospel Portion
Powerful first reading combined with the responsorial psalm and Alleluia verse.

Then the gospel portion today takes an interesting turn of expressing the model of mercy.

The disciples were eating handful of grain while passing through a field on the Sabbath.
To be clear there is nothing wrong with this action. It is neither harvesting nor gleaning. It is a minimal nutritional effort. The people were hungry. The Pharisees are falsely equating this action with reaping (to cut and gather).

Jesus decides not to bother to refute that claim and rather hit the deeper issue for the Pharisees. They lack charity. They are not in the moment.

He cites the Lord’s patience with:

  • David and his hungry companions eating the Show Bread in the temple.
  • The Priests work in the temple on the Sabbath in regards to the Show Bread but are innocent.

Jesus, in the fullness of God’s compassion, is greater than the Temple where these laws are enforced. The temple is the highest liturgical connection place with the Lord. Yet even that temporal holy place is not higher than the one who is Lord of the Sabbath.

But in addition to that is the question of perfect or even excessive compliance of the Law.

  • A charitable heart would not even think to declare a handful of grain to reaping.
  • A charitable person would understand that starving people can eat the Show Bread of the temple.

Literalism alone is a disease.
Charity is the cure.

We, the people of the Church, are hungry for the Eucharistic Bread that is Jesus.

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

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