A wonderul story of healing in today’s first reading from Isaiah 38. Hezekiah is dying and he cries out to the Lord. God hears his cry and gives him another 15 years. Hope he used it well! In the Gospel from Matthew 12, the Pharisees dog Jesus’ disciples for “working” on the Sabbath. Jesus says to them, “If you knew what this meant, I desire mercy, not sacrifice, you would not have condemned these innocent men.”
It is important to follow rules. But occasionally, the spirit of the law needs to trump the letter of the law. Some people will cringe at this, as the Pharisees did. What about the rules?!? Without rules, there would be chaos! True enough. But let’s consider an example.
In the 1940’s, many Jews were trying to flee Nazi oppression. We hear story after story about how Christians would hide Jews from the Nazis. They would lie in order to help the Jews escape. But wait – isn’t lying a sin? Shouldn’t these people have to pay the price for lying? I don’t think so. This is the meaning of the words, I desire mercy, not sacrifice.
Father, help us to be a people of mercy. Help us to follow the law of love above all others. Amen.