READINGS for 2007-07-20

Didache | Companion | Sabbath



“I desire mercy, not sacrifice.” – Matthew 12:7

A young lady was venting out to her group of friends about how frustrating life had been for her and that she had stopped praying and was now angry with God. One of her friends suddenly blurted out and said, “Stop fretting. Those are evil thoughts. Grow up, get your act together and go to confession!”

It is astonishing how we find ways to judge one another. We set standards for acceptability and draw lines defining what is good enough and what is not. Thus, we fail to realize that an attitude can be as damaging as an unkind word or a forceful blow.

Sometimes we get too tied up in all sorts of technical religious issues that keep us from prioritizing the things that are on the Lord’s heart – that of reaching out with love. It is not just criticism that drags people down, it is also the force of judgment behind it.

Consideration and compassion are important Christian qualities. God does not want anyone to force their will on anyone else because God desires mercy and not harsh accusations. Jane G.


Are we the first to judge the wrongs of others, or do we reach out to them in love?

Lord, help me to see my brothers and sisters in the way You see them, through the eyes of unconditional love.





Moses and Aaron do all they can to convince the Pharaoh to let the people go. God gives them power to work many miracles and yet still Pharaoh is unconvinced of the necessity to relent. The build up in the story is palpable. We can feel the tension rising. What is God going to do now? And then the tension eases a little as we learn about the prescriptions for the Passover Meal. This is the lull before the storm and what a storm it will be!

Exodus 11:10—12:14

10 Although Moses and Aaron performed these various wonders in Pharaoh’s presence, the LORD made Pharaoh obstinate, and he would not let the Israelites leave his land. 12: 1 The LORD said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, 2 “This month shall stand at the head of your calendar; you shall reckon it the first month of the year. 3 Tell the whole community of Israel: On the tenth of this month every one of your families must procure for itself a lamb, one apiece for each household. 4 If a family is too small for a whole lamb, it shall join the nearest household in procuring one and shall share in the lamb in proportion to the number of persons who partake of it. 5 The lamb must be a year-old male and without blemish. You may take it from either the sheep or the goats. 6 You shall keep it until the fourteenth day of this month, and then, with the whole assembly of Israel present, it shall be slaughtered during the evening twilight. 7 They shall take some of its blood and apply it to the two doorposts and the lintel of every house in which they partake of the lamb. 8 That same night they shall eat its roasted flesh with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. 9 It shall not be eaten raw or boiled, but roasted whole, with its head and shanks and inner organs. 10 None of it must be kept beyond the next morning; whatever is left over in the morning shall be burned up. 11 This is how you are to eat: eat it with your loins girt, sandals on your feet and your staff in hand, you shall eat like those who are in flight. It is the Passover of the LORD. 12 For on this same night I will go through Egypt, striking down every first-born of the land, both man and beast, and executing judgment on all the gods of Egypt — I, the LORD! 13 But the blood will mark the houses where you are. Seeing the blood, I will pass over you; thus, when I strike the land of Egypt, no destructiveblow will come upon you. 14 This day shall be a memorial feast for you, which all your generations shall celebrate with pilgrimage to the LORD, as a perpetual institution.”

Psalm 116:12-13, 15-16, 17-18

R: I will take the cup of salvation, and call on the name of the Lord.

12 How shall I make a return to the LORD for all the good he has done for me? 13 The cup of salvation I will take up, and I will call upon the name of the LORD. (R) 15 Precious in the eyes of the LORD is the death of his faithful ones. 16 I am your servant, the son of your handmaid; you have loosed my bonds. (R) 17 To you will I offer sacrifice of thanksgiving, and I will call upon the name of the LORD. 18 My vows to the LORD I will pay in the presence of all his people. (R)


Matthew 12:1-8

Jesus will not bow down to rules that make no sense. The Sabbath is made for the people, namely to remind them of their religious obligations to God, not the people for the Sabbath. How silly can we get to deprive hungry people of food just because it is the wrong day to harvest food. Let us be sensible in the way that we follow the laws of God so that they are placed in the service of people and not the other way around.

1 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. 2 When the Pharisees saw this, they said to him, “See, your disciples are doing what is unlawful to do on the sabbath.” 3 He said to them, “Have you not read what David did when he and his companions were hungry, 4 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? 5 Or have you not read in the law that on the sabbath the priests serving in the temple violate the sabbath and are innocent? 6 I say to you, something greater than the temple is here. 7 If you knew what this meant, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned these innocent men. 8 For the Son of Man is Lord of the sabbath.”

my reflections




God’s special verse/thought for me today________________



Thank You Lord for: ____________________________________



think: Let us be sensible in the way that we follow the laws of God so that they are placed in the service of people and not the other way around.




Well, today is actually a Friday. Perhaps we are more accustomed to make the usual exclamation in gratitude for the weekend. But we, for our part, want to be more specific: we are grateful to the Lord most especially for the “sabbath,” for His day, for Sunday.

In our Philippine context, probably the only thing we don’t hold on Sundays are political rallies. For us, the malls and badminton courts are open; it’s a great day for family and friends, for visits and hobbies, for worship in church and recreation in sports.

Hopefully we are able to maintain, in the midst of all these, the primacy or the supremacy of the human person, and of course the primacy or supremacy of God as the “Lord of the sabbath.” This is precisely what Jesus Christ emphasizes, as we see in today’s Gospel episode.

Yes —laws, do’s and don’ts, rules and regulations, and so on: all of these are useful and even essential (can you imagine badminton without the rules?). But let us never forget that all these are at the service of the human person, and not the other way around. It’s a good point for selfexamination, therefore. For instance, is our Sunday recreation truly a “recreation,” in the sense that it relaxes us and restores us in our health? Or do we always end up even more tired and unprepared for the following day (no wonder, the “Monday blues”)? Also, are we already so caught-up in the corporate rat-race, often working overtime, always rushing to beat deadlines (formula for burnout!) — to the point of sacrificing family life and health?

May the Lord serve to prick our consciences. After all, even God rested on the seventh day (so to speak), and of course Jesus rose from the dead on the third day. Surely we can use some time to praise and thank God, to rest and recreate ourselves, most especially on a Sunday. Fr. Martin M.

REFLECTION QUESTION: How do you keep the Sabbath day holy?

For Sabbath, the day of rest, thank You, Lord.

St. Flavian & Elias, bishop, pray for us.


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