Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Are you aware that love of neighbor is more important than strict obedience of the law? - Daily Reflections October 13,2015

In today’s Gospel, we feel the tense relationship between Jesus and the religious authority of His time. But in spite of the tension, there was a certain familiarity between Jesus and the Pharisees. Invited to eat at their house, Jesus accepts the invitation but He sat at the table without washing His hands. The Pharisee was surprised that Jesus did not observe this religious rule.
       The Pharisees were actually good people, but they had forgotten that the spirit of the Law was more important than the letter of the Law, something Jesus wanted to make clear.
       St. Paul, a former Pharisee, wrote to the Corinthians: “The letter kills; the spirit gives life.”
   In spite of their legalistic attitude, we should not condemn the Pharisees. They were serious people. They dedicated eight hours every day to study and to meditate on the Law of God, another eight hours to work in order to support their family, and the other eight hours to rest. This serious witness of their life gave them a great respect.
       Perhaps because of this, in spite of the fact of being totally different, both Jesus and the Pharisees understood one another.
       The passage makes us aware that, in order to be faithful to what God asks of us, it is not sufficient to observe the letter of the law. It is in how we practice love that the fullness of the law is attained. “It is love alone that gives worth to all things,” St. Teresa of Avila wrote.
       At times we may be tempted to fall into the “Pharisaic” trap. If we justify ourselves by obedience to the law and neglect the greatest commandment — the commandment of love — we will not be pleasing to God. Without realizing it, we might sit at the table of Jesus on the side of the Pharisees. Fr. Rudy Horst, SVD
REFLECTION QUESTION: Are you aware that love of neighbor is more important than strict obedience of the law?
Lord, at times it is easier to obey a law than to reach out in love to a neighbor in need. May Your example inspire me for the rest of my life and help me to become more loving.

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