Thursday, February 28, 2019
One Sabbath Jesus was going through the grain fields, and His disciples began to pick some heads of grain, rub them in their hands and eat the kernels. Some of the Pharisees asked, “Why are you doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath?” Jesus answered them, “Have you never read what David did when he and his companions were hungry? He entered the house of God, and taking the consecrated bread, he ate what is lawful only for priests to eat. And he also gave some to his companions.” Then Jesus said to them, “The Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.” – Luke 6:1-5
Rules, especially rigid rules, rules that confound their very purpose, Jesus spoke against them.
The Pharisees challenged this rabbi and his traveling rabbinical school, “Why do you break the rules of the Sabbath?” And Jesus responded … “Sometimes the rules must be adapted to the specific circumstance.”
This attitude of Jesus concerning this adaptability of the rules in contrast with the attitude of the Pharisees and their rigidity of the rules is, I believe, at the heart of Christ understanding of the holy life. The Holy Life is not the keeping of rules but rather the fulfilling of purposes Divine.
And yet, even today, two thousand years later, we still have some Pharisaic voices who exchange the fulfilling of Divine purposes for the sake of rigidly keeping a certain selection of rules. And the rules they emphasize are more of their own cultural mores than of the ultimate purposes of God. So often for the sake of zealously keeping this rule or that rule, they slaughter the essential spirit of it all. The Sabbath was not meant for the purpose of starvation, but rather for the purpose of celebrating the wonder of God.
The Way of Christ was not the way of rules and laws but rather the Way of a More Perfect Love seeking to reach its fulfillment. The Christian Way is not about the keeping of rules but the fulfillment of purposes. The Christian Way is not about law and punishment but about grace and mercy.
Always in Christ’s Service,
Fr. Charitas de la Cruz