Friday, October 31, 2014
30th Week in Ordinary Time
1st Reading: Phil 1:1-11
Gospel: Lk 14:1-6
One Sabbath Jesus had gone to eat a meal in the house of a leading Pharisee, and he was carefully watched. In front of him was a man suffering from dropsy; so Jesus asked the teachers of the Law and the Pharisees, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath or not?” But no one answered. Jesus then took the man, healed him and sent him away. And he addressed them, “If your lamb or your ox falls into a well on a Sabbath day, who among you doesn’t hurry to pull it out?” And they could not answer.
(Daily Gospel in the Assimilated Life Experience)
Today’s Gospel calls our attention to the many times we end up sacrificing the essentials by following a strict interpretation of the Law. The Christian way is the way of Jesus who interpreted the Law in relation to the ultimate good of humanity.
Jesus did not hesitate to disregard interpretations of the law disadvantageous to the welfare of people. In today’s Gospel, for example, he did not allow the Pharisees’ narrow interpretation of the Sabbath Law to deprive a man suffering from dropsy of that rare healing encounter with him. Jesus cured that sick person over and above the objection of the Pharisees who cried foul because Jesus was performing miracles on a Sabbath. Under the strict Sabbath Law any mode of work was prohibited. Jesus was not spared. When Jesus was made to choose between complying the law to the letter and saving a person, he chose the latter.
Every time I come to this topic on the law and human welfare I remember an experience I had long time ago with a traffic enforcer while I was on my way to the hospital to minister to the sick. Because the hospital’s parking lot was fully occupied I pulled over to call from my mobile phone the relatives of the sick to inform them about my parking problem. Suddenly a traffic officer apprehended me for pulling over at a ‘no stopping’ zone. “Someone is dying in that hospital and I have nowhere to park,” I explained. The traffic enforcer must have taken me for a doctor, perhaps because I was wearing white. He said, “It’s okey, Doctor, you can park here. I can even keep an eye on your car”. He left before I could explain further.
The way he interpreted the law doctors should be exempted from street parking regulations because they save lives, and matters of life are higher than any law. The survival of any decent society hangs on how sacred people consider life to be. Any law that jeopardizes life is oppressive and should not find support. The life we sacrifice because of our penchant for the details of the law may be our very own life.
We may not be in a position to interpret the law for others but we must understand that life must be given the respect due. – Rev. Fr. Dan Domingo P. delos Angeles, Jr., DM. Email:firstname.lastname@example.org. Website: www.frdan.org.
Prayer for the day: God our Father teach us to love each other by tempering the rigors of the law with our genuine concern for the needs of our brothers and sisters. Grant this through Christ our Lord. Amen.
SAINT OF THE DAY: ST. Wolfgang, Bishop. He was born in Suabia in 925 and became a Benedictine monk who reformed the abbey school where he was director. After he became a priest he evangelized the Magyars and was later appointed Archbishop of Ratisbon. He was canonized in 1022.