Friday of the 15th Week of the Year

Matt 12:1-8

Picking Grain on the Sabbath


There was a time in the life of Jesus when he came to defend children. That was when people were bringing their children to him that he might bestow his blessing on them. His disciples were for turning them away. But Jesus came to their defense with the words: “Let the children come to me and do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the Kingdom of God belongs,” (Lk 18:15-16).

In our gospel today, Jesus’ mere children is under attack by the Pharisees for pulling off heads of grain to eat them, as they were walking through standing grain and doing this on a Sabbath. It was not at all for the fun of pulling off heads of grain; the disciples were really hungry. In His defense of the disciples, Jesus pointed out two known exemptions from the strict rule on the Sabbath rest. Was he not saying that his hungry disciples could be exempted just as well?

The trouble with the Pharisees was that they were so fixated to the letters of the law that they had hardly any regard for the human person. Well did Jesus say against them in another place that the Sabbath was mad for man, not man for the Sabbath?

At any rate, as if to put an end to all further questioning, Jesus states categorically that He, the Son of Man, is the Lord of the Sabbath.

Does not Jesus appear all the more lovable in his role as defender of the defenceless and the hungry? (Fr. Dong Alpuerto, SVD Bible 2002)


Jesus looks beyond the letter of the law and sees the person first; the person’s needs and wants go before the law and more, the person for Him is the qualifier of the law.

Rules, laws and traditions – all these are good, for they are meant to provide peace and order, to give direction to one’s life and to promote life. But the moment we forget the Person, for whom the laws were made and become too legalistic, too formalistic and structured, the laws cease to be life-giving. They stifle life. Instant judgments and counting the mistakes of others become then so natural that mercy, forgiveness and compassion are easily forgotten.

Jesus reminds us today that it is mercy, not sacrifice that matters.

How fast are we in judging others? Do we make the effort to see their needs, motives and circumstances before applying sanctions and punishments? Can we learn from Jesus his sensitivity to see People rather than stuck on the letter of the law?

Loving Lord, make us compassionate as our Father in heaven is compassionate. (Sr. Judyta, SSpS Bible Diary 2004)


Laws, rules and regulations are beneficial. They are meant to promote social order and are indispensable aids to the creative ordering of our lives.

While it is all right to be legal, being legalistic is a different matter. The latter is what the Pharisees are guilty of. Seeing the disciples of Jesus picking grains on the Sabbath triggered their legalistic attitude.

At times, we are not also spared from this attitude. We tend to focus more on the strict implementation of the rules to the extent that life-giving relationships are endangered.

When I was in kindergarten, our teacher was a terror! It was her rule that anyone who was not able to memorize the lesson of the previous day had to sit on a chair in front of the class until everybody could recite. Imagine the embarrassment it created on a young life! One day, she asked us to recite the seven days of the week. The next scenario was terrible. Almost three-fourths of the class was punished. Everybody hated her for that.

Jesus clearly points out that a scrupulous enforcement of the law to the letter could kill the spirit of the law. He asserts the importance of human life over the Sabbath. Above all, he also shows that what actually pleases God is the act of charity- charity that acts immediately and does not delay. ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.” (Frt. Felmar Castrodes, SVD, Bible Diary 2006)


Two 12-year-old friends were strolling the whole day. The first boy comes from a very pious family. Stealing or getting something that do not belong to him is sinful. The other boy, whose parents are separated, grew up with a minimum understanding of what sin is. But he tries to take care of his health which for him is his “capital” when he grows older. At about two o’clock in the afternoon, they both felt hungry. They saw a garden full of fruit-bearing trees. They wanted to ask permission but there was nobody around. The second boy, lacking in religious training, decided to pick some fruits and ate them but the first one, trying to preserve his values, refused because it was a sin to steal. The first boy ended up having acute ulcers all his life.

The story sounds ridiculous but this is most likely to happen in the practice of our Christian faith when sometimes we become scrupulous. Like the Pharisees, preservation of the letter of the law is more important than the preservation of life; of ritualistic sacrifice over mercy. The anecdote above does not intend to suggest compromising one’s values but again they must be responsibly practiced. Laws are made to guide, not to punish; laws are there to give life not to kill it. Trouble is we tend to hide behind the letter of the law to excuse ourselves from ding what is really good, because doing good is very hard for us to bear. (Fr. Edgar Calunod, SVD Bible Diary 2007)


After college graduation, every Mangyan Mission scholar renders one year community service as volunteer worker to the tribe where she/he belongs. A few years ago, we had two volunteers at the Mangyan Tadyawan Formation Center. One assisted our staff in community organizing. The other tutored our high school students. During that period, volunteers were discouraged from entertaining suitors. This was to set an example to our high school students to think of their studies first and not early marriage.

After Christmas, back from vacation, the area coordinator found out that one of them was pregnant. She scolded the volunteer saying: “Why did you do that? The priest will be mad at you! How will this affect the students?” the area coordinator referred the matter to me I told her to calm down. Anger will only make the problem worse. What is needed now is understanding.

In today’s gospel Jesus asks us to get into the spirit of law, to go beyond its letter. As the gospel says: “The Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.” He desires mercy, not sacrifice.” Laws are made to maintain order, but the person, the recipient of mercy, is more important than the law.

In our daily lives, how often do we allow the Lord of the Sabbath to touch people who are in crisis with His loving mercy? (Fr. Jiggs Orcino, SVD Bible Diary 2008)


What do you think would happen if there were no traffic lights along busy streets in big cities? What would happen to seminary formation without rules and regulations? What would happen to children without parental guidance? These are a few questions whose answers prove the importance of human laws.

In today’s gospel, Jesus said in reaction to the scribes: “Sabbath was made for man and not man for the Sabbath. For the Son of man is Lord of the Sabbath.” It was for the benefit of mankind that God ordained the Sabbath. It was God’s gift to His chosen people.

The whole point of implementing and following rules and regulations is not only for the sake of harmony and order, but most importantly, for the sake of love and respect for the dignity of God’s chosen people. Thus, Jesus defended His disciples when they were accused by the Pharisees of breaking the Sabbath laws. Jesus took into consideration the heart of the law which is love. He was against the numerous restrictions and blind obedience to the whole spectrum of regulations as demanded by the Pharisees. Mere legalistic attitude can have the effect of restricting God’s love and mercy. Mere legalism ignores Jesus’ command to love one another.

If the heart of the law is love then can we have mercy for those who break these human laws? Can we have compassion for the innocent victim of jaywalking? Can we still consider or give a second chance to a formandi who was misjudged during evaluation? Can we forgive an erring brother or sister? “It is mercy I desire not sacrifice.” (Fr. Sammy Clarin, SVD Bible Diary 2009)


A very pious man reproaches his friend for not observing the Sabbath. He said: “My friend, why are you still working? Did you forget that God commanded to keep holy the Sabbath day? God created the world in six days and on the seventh day He rested.” And his friend replied: “Well, God is so lucky! He finished His work on the sixth day, while mine is not yet finished that’s why i have to continue working.”

The issue on the observance of the Sabbath remarkably divided the Pharisees and Christ’s disciples. For the Jews, especially the Pharisees, nothing is more important than observing the laws. But their rigid observance of the laws impedes them to discover the face of the loving and merciful God in Jesus Christ. “See, your disciples are doing what is unlawful to do on the Sabbath.” As master, h had to defend His disciples. His answers could be divided into three. First, Jesus uses the Scripture to counterattack the Pharisees’ accusation by mentioning what happened to David and his disciples when they were hungry and the priests serving in the temple on the Sabbath day.  Jesus is trying to imply that human needs, especially that of survival, take precedence over ritual and legal customs. The second reaction of Jesus has a humanitarian dimension: “I desire mercy, not sacrifice.” For Jesus, breaking rules in order to save life on the Sabbath is of greater importance than strictly keeping its rules but letting needy people die, like that of the parable of the Good Samaritan. Lastly, Jesus’ expression, “The Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath,” reveals a Christological truth. He is the Son of the One who established the said law whom the Pharisees failed to recognize. Jesus is the fulfilment of the law, the law of love.

This biblical episode is a good material to review our spirituality too. Otherwise we might be living a Godless religion, adding by anti-life laws, and nurturing a merciless heart. May God spare us from a pharisaical  spirituality (Fr. Semei Rebayla SVD Bible Diary 2013).


July 15, 2016 Friday

In today’s gospel, the disciples of Jesus were accused of breaking the law of the sabbath. Because of their hunger, they were forced to pick the heads of grain and eat them while walking. Jesus defended his disciples against the Pharisees; “Have you not read what David did when he and his companions were hungry,…”

The gospel today challenges us to observe the highest law, the law of love. Jesus summarized the ten commandments into two: love God and love your neighbor. Because love is the fulfillmentof the law, it is not observed without the practice of love and compassion, especially to the poor and the needy.

The law is made to guide us, to take care of the welfare of others, to protect others. The Pharisees were protecting the law but failed to protect and provide the welfare of the needy.

The more we observe the law, the more we should be loving and compassionate. That is why Jesus said: “I desire mercy not sacrifice.”  Our sacrifices, prayers to God will be void if there is no love and compassion in our hearts. I remember one participant in a recollection telling me; “Father it is easy to attend mass but to forgive and be compassionate is difficult.”

Observance of the law of God should inspire us to be more loving because the real spirit of the law is to give life, to uplift life, not to destroy life. Be a life-giver by ful lling the law of love. (Fr. Jay Francis Flandez, SVD Hongkong Bible Diary 2016)


I DESIRE MERCY, NOT SACRIFICE. In the end what matters is how we have touched, sustained, cared for, and borne with one another – mercy, not sacrifice.

Money will not save us, no matter how many millions we have. Accomplishments will not matter and remain in the end. The love of our families, the faithfulness of our friends and the mercy of our God are what will see us through.

We are lords of the Sabbath. We have the power and the ability to care for one another. “Reach out to one person today.” (July 15, 2011 [Friday], 365 Days with the Lord 2011)


Disciples are thinking persons! Jesus is talking about something more than the Sabbath. He is dealing with values and the need for the true follower to be able to make value judgments. Morality is not simply about sticking to the rule, to the letter. There is also the context, the subjective element to consider. The disciple, then, is one who has the ability to discern, to critically think about the issues. In the end, the disciple always tries to follow the way of Jesus: a way of love and compassion, a way of persevering life and good name. True faith should not breed blind and fanatic followers, but mature and thinking persons. (Fr. Domie Guzman SSP, New Every Morning, New Everyday p. 222)


The Value of Mercy. The Law was a very important dimension of Jewish life and religion. Though many times they faltered, the People of God always sought to return to the Covenant relationship they had with God. The story of Exodus (cf. First Reading, Year I, Ex. 11:10-12:14) tells us that the Covenant is something that God Himself initiated with the Jews. God, in return, also sent prophets who proclaimed His ways and His will to the Chosen People. In the absence of prophets, the People of God valued the Law. It was one sure thing that revealed the way and the will of God. They sought to be “immaculately righteous” vis-à-vis the letters of this law.

Consistent with His whole teaching in the gospel of Matthew, Jesus proclaims that true spirituality is not just in being blameless as regards the provisions of the Covenant Law. True spirituality is imitating the Father from whom all things came to be. The perfection of the Father is in His mercy (cf. Mt 5:43-48). We should be hard and demanding on ourselves, but on others, there should be charity even in the face of their errors and failures (cf. Mt 18:15-20). (Fr. Domie Guzman SSP, New Every Morning, New Everyday p. 222-223)


July 20, 2012

 St. Apollinaris, bishop and martyr
(OptM) RED

Friday of the 15th Week

Is 38:1-6, 21-22, 7-8
Is 38
Mt 12:1-8

Picking Grain on the Sabbath

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


I desire mercy, not sacrifice. The action of Jesus’ disciples—picking heads of grain and eating them—is equated with reaping and considered a violation of Ex 34:21, as pointed out by the Pharisees. Harvesting as well as plowing of grains is prohibited on the Sabbath.

Jesus, however, wants the Sabbath law to be interpreted with compassion. Necessity knows no law, so we say. In the disciples’ case, human life is involved, in particular, human hunger. It is as if the rigid-thinking Pharisees are reasoning out, “Let them go hungry and starve. The law is more important than their hunger.”

Jesus teaches that common sense should prevail. No one should go hungry because of a rigid interpretation of the law. Jesus recalls the experience of David who went to the house of God, took the bread of offering which only the priests could lawfully eat, and shared it with his companions. Human needs take precedence over regulations. In fact, rules and regulations are made to serve human needs, to advance human well-being.

Can you identify laws that serve only a few and put a burden on the majority of people?
Recall instances when you were rigid in your interpretation of the law.


FRIDAY OF THE 15TH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME (YEAR A) – MATEO 12:1-8. Unsa may mas bililhon, ang pagdala og halad diha sa templo o ang kalooy para sa isigkatawo? Ang mga Pariseo nailhan sa ilang pagkamatinumanon sa balaod ni Moises. Nag-una sila sa pagrespeto sa Adlaw’ng Igpapahulay ug sa pagdala og halad nga mananap didto sa templo. Apan nganong gisaway man sila ni Jesus? Kini tungod kay ang ilang pagtuman sa balaod wala makahimo nilang maloloy-on; nahimo hinoon silang mahukmanon sa isigkaingon. Gipahimangnoan sila ni Jesus pinaagi sa pagkutlo sa Kasulatan: “Dili ako gusto’g mga halad nga mananap, kondili kalooy.” Hinaot nga ang atong pagdala’g halad sulod sa Santos nga Misa dili unta mabulag sa atong pagtabang sa tawong nanginahanglan. Ang atong makanunayong pagsimba ug pagtuman sa mga sugo sa Dios makahimo unta natong mas maloloy-on sa uban. Posted by Abet Uy


My Reflection for Friday July 18, Fifteenth Week in Ordinary Time; Matthew 12:1-8 Reflection: When Pope Francis was asked about homosexuals he said this: “Who am I to judge them if they’re seeking the Lord in good faith? They shouldn’t be marginalized. The tendency to homosexuality is not the problem they’re our brothers.” This comment by the Pope evoked countless positive comments all over the world. Why? Because it broke barriers, it erased the usual stigma that homosexuals are sinful.

When the disciples eat during the Sabbath the Pharisees told Jesus, “See, your disciples are doing what is unlawful to do on the Sabbath (Matthew 12:2).” But Jesus justly defended HIS disciples.

Like the Pharisees, it’s so easy for us to judge based only on what we see but what we see is often a false representation a person’s identity. However, unlike us who easily judge, Jesus doesn’t what is important for Jesus is mercy, what is important for Jesus is the goodness of a person’s heart.

How are we going to spread the kindness of Jesus if we are overly strict and judgmental? If we are not going to bend in humility? The Pharisees in our gospel were  judgmental they want their laws to be strictly followed. But they were also the main violators of the law that they have self-servingly created.

Let us reflect on the many times that we have become self-righteous and judgmental and let us ask for forgiveness to those whom we have offended.  Posted by: Marino J. Dasmarinas


Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Reflection for July 15, Friday Saint Bonaventure, Bishop and Doctor of the Church; Matthew 12:1-8

Reflection: A strict father suddenly realized that his strictness with his children was slowly creating a wall between him and his children. He carefully thought on how he could banish the wall that he himself created. So he said from now on I will not be strict anymore I would be more compassionate, approachable and merciful.

After a week the wall that created a gap between the father and his children has completely banished. The children were more open to their father and it created an ideal father and children relationship.

Mercy, understanding and openness are always higher than rigidity and strictness. Rigidity and strictness tears people apart it create walls of communication and it foment strangeness and separation. On the other hand mercy, understanding and openness brings us closer, it breaks walls and it heals wounds.

Let go therefore of your hatred, let go therefore of your pent-up emotions, let go and let the mercy of Jesus rule your heart. Let us always desire to be merciful because Jesus himself is merciful. – Marino J. Dasmarinas


GOD IS KIND: “I desire mercy, not sacrifice.” – Matthew 12:7 I remember Joseph the Dreamer who was sold by his brothers into slavery. When the time came when they needed his assistance, Joseph could have refused to help them. He had the right to do so, after all the pain they had caused him. But Joseph chose mercy and compassion instead. He forgave his brothers and did them good by providing for their needs.

God treats us in the same way. We have sinned many times and yet He continues to forgive our sins when we come to Him in the sacrament of reconciliation.

Some people may have done us wrong and we feel we have the right to take revenge. But the Lord asks us to choose love as it will please the Father. Our duty is to love them.

Give mercy to the sister who caused us hurt by her painful words, mercy to the absentee father who had neglected us but needs our care in his old age, mercy to the man who caused us much heartache but needs healing through our forgiveness.

The same mercy the Lord gives to us, He asks that we give to others. It is not easy, and this is why we need God’s grace to help us show mercy, to share His love. Marjorie Ann Duterte (

Reflection: “You are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love.” (Jonah 4:2)

Dear Jesus, help us to love like You do, to overlook offenses and keep no record of wrongs, that we may show our love for You.


1ST READING: Hezekiah was one of the better kings of Israel. He was a little corrupt but he ruled fairly and well. Here we see the story where he gains an extra 15 years of life. Given that the average age of someone at this time is probably around 30-35, this is an enormous amount of time. If only our good rulers were given more years and our bad ones had their reigns shortened. Isaiah 38:1-6, 21-22, 7-8

GOSPEL: God looks at the heart of a person when judging his or her actions. Of course, no good intention can override a fundamentally wrong act such as murder. In this case, it is not fundamentally wrong to eat corn on the sabbath. With these laws we need to take into account what they intend to protect or promote. The sabbath is an important time of prayer and so they avoided work. But hunger is more important than this discipline, especially if you know you have to or will pray that day. Matthew 12:1-8

think:  God looks at the heart of a person when judging his or her actions.


THANK GOD, IT’S SUNDAY! Today is actually a Friday. Perhaps we are more accustomed to make the usual exclamation in gratitude for the last day of the workweek. But we are grateful to the Lord most especially for the “sabbath,” for His day (the “Lord’s Day”) — for Sunday.

In the Philippine context, probably the only thing we don’t hold on Sundays are rallies and demonstrations. The malls and the badminton courts are open for our enjoyment. 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, that of God as the “Lord of the sabbath.” This is what Jesus Christ emphasizes, as we see in today’s Gospel episode.

Laws and directives, do’s and don’ts, rules and regulations, and so on — these are all 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 self-examination.     For instance, is our Sunday recreation truly a “re-creation,” in the sense that it replenishes our energies and restores 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 office rat race, often working overtime, always rushing to beat deadlines (formula for burnout!) — to the point of sacrificing family life and health?

Today’s saint, Camillus de Lellis (July 14), who turned his back on gambling (he was addicted to it!) to embrace a life of dedication and service to the sick, may serve to prick our consciences. And the Lord Himself, of course, who rested on the seventh day (so to speak). Surely we can use some spare time to praise and thank God, to rest and recreate ourselves, most especially on a Sunday. Fr. Martin Macasaet, SDB

REFLECTION QUESTION: How do you spend your Sundays?

Lord Jesus, help me to put order into my days so that I may spend my Sundays more meaningfully with You.


FROM SABBATH TO SUNDAY – Today we begin to read Chapter 12 of Matthew’s Gospel. Hostility towards Jesus had flared up already, but as Jesus condemned openly the hypocrisy of the religious leaders, they increased their attacks on Him and encouraged the people to reject Him. As their unbelief escalated, Jesus likewise amplified His condemnation of their unbelief. He more openly and harshly condemned the religious leaders, namely the scribes, Pharisees and Sadducees. One of the main points of conflict was over laws regarding the Sabbath day.

After creating the universe, the earth and all that is in it in six days, God made a symbolic break from His creation to establish the need for man to rest. It was later included in the Mosaic Law to remind the people of Israel that God had given them rest from their bondage in Egypt. Therefore, the Sabbath became symbolic and ceremonial, but most Jews misunderstood it and kept it legalistically.

Allow me to quote from a book by the great Jewish theologian, Abraham Joshua Heschel, about the Sabbath, a book that Pope St. John Paul II used for his Apostolic Letter “Dies Domini – On Keeping the Lord’s Day Holy.” Heschel wrote these lines: “The meaning of the Sabbath is to celebrate time rather than space.” “Man must say farewell to manual work and learn to understand that the world has already been created…” “It is a day for praise, not a day for petitions.” “It is a sin to be sad on the Sabbath day.”

Since our Sunday developed from the Jewish Sabbath and is our Christian Day of the Lord, we can ask ourselves how we “celebrate” Sunday. Is it really a holy day, a day of celebrating the Lord’s resurrection, a day of praise rather than of petition? Do we really rest and reflect about what went on the past week so that the coming week will be better in the eyes of God?

Jesus would probably not scold us for keeping the Lord’s Day legalistically, but for not keeping it at all as a holy day.Fr. Rudy Horst, SVD

REFLECTION QUESTION: Do you spend your Sunday in malls than in the presence of God?

Lord, reflecting on the way You want Your day to be spent, I realize that I can learn a lot from my Jewish brethren. Thank You for making me aware of my need for rest in Your presence. Amen.


Condemning the Innocent

July 17, 2015 (readings)

Friday of the Fifteenth Week of Ordinary Time

Father Eugene Gormley, LC

Matthew 12: 1-8

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

Introductory Prayer: Almighty and ever-living God, I seek new strength from the courage of Christ our shepherd. I believe in you, I hope in you, and I seek to love you with all my heart, all my soul, all my mind, and all my strength. I want to be led one day to join the saints in heaven, where your Son Jesus Christ lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever.

Petition: Help me to make every Sunday a special day for me and my family.

  1. Fasting on Sunday?It was the Sabbath, a day of rest. The disciples had had a difficult and busy week, and they were hungry. Jesus allowed them to look for food in the fields. This could have discouraged them, not having a meal waiting for them. But they were accustomed to hardship. They were busy and had much to do. There was little free time. Christ was busy on weekends; his mission didn’t stop. The disciples were united with Jesus, participating in his mission. This made all their sacrifices worthwhile and easier to cope with. When we trust in and unite ourselves with Christ, we can be patient and at peace in the midst of trials.
  2. The Confrontation:The Sabbath was established in order for the Jewish people to remember and reflect on their special covenant relationship with God. He had delivered them from slavery and given them rest. The Pharisees, however, focused on “what you can’t do” and failed to see “what you should do.” On Sundays, we should focus more on what we should do in order to worthily receive Christ. Then secondary things will not distract us from what is essential. God has a special relationship with us. He has delivered us from slavery. He continues to love us and asks that we love him and others with all our heart. On Sundays, do I recall my covenant relationship with Our Lord? Am I mindful and grateful for all the good things he has done and continues to do for me? Does God take first place for me on Sundays?
  3. Sunday Service:Christ instructed his disciples about his mission. They grew to understand, appreciate and live it. He taught them to participate at the Sabbath service with fervor, but also to be open to any needs others might have, even on the Sabbath. It is lawful to do good any day of the week, especially the Lord’s Day. Christ cured the man with the withered hand on the Sabbath, fed his disciples on the Sabbath, and cured another woman with a bent back on the Sabbath. Charity will inspire us to do good to others even on a Sunday. “Sunday service” and “Service-on-Sunday” go together. Do I ever dedicate my Sundays, or part of them, to bring rest to those who are most in need? What can I do to help the poor and marginalized on that day? How can I instill this spirit of service in my children?

Conversation with Christ: You long to share your Word and Body with me at Sunday Mass and at every Mass I can attend during the week. May I always have a hunger for this encounter with your love and friendship. May I serve others with the same charity and love as you serve me. May Sunday be the most important day of the week for me and my family.

Resolution: I will organize this coming Sunday to be a day of worship and rest. I will try to do good to someone this Sunday, and I will help someone come back to Sunday Mass attendance.

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Friday of the15th Week in Ordinary Time

Is 38: 1-6.21-22.7-8; Mt 12: 1-8

I Desire Mercy 

The Sabbath was the day the Jews set aside for worshipping God. God Himself, ordered the Jewish people to avoid certain kinds of work on this day to leave them free to give more time to God. As time went by, the rabbis complicated this divine precept: by Jesus’ time they had extended to 39 the list of kinds of forbidden work.

The Pharisees accuse Jesus’ disciples of breaking the Sabbath. In the interpretation of the scribes and the Pharisees, plucking ears of corn was the same as harvesting, and crushing them was the same as milling-types of agricultural work forbidden on the Sabbath.

Jesus rebuts the Pharisees’ accusation by four arguments–the example of David, that of the priests, a correct understanding of the mercy of God and Jesus’ own authority over the Sabbath.

Let me speak about the third point namely the importance of the correct understanding of the mercy of Gd. Here Jesus quotes Hosea 6:6, a more faithful translation would be: “I desire mercy more than sacrifice”. It is not that our Lord does not want the sacrifices we offer Him: He is stressing that every sacrifice should come from the heart, for charity should imbue everything a Christian does.

Recently Pope Francis warned that some Christians are trying to establish the eighth sacrament of pastoral customs when they insist on protocol instead of seeking to meet spiritual needs.

One of the examples he mentioned was the scenario of a single mother who wants to have her child baptized in the church.  She approaches the church authorities who object as she is not married in the church. Pope is against such attitude where we close the doors of the church on people who seek.

God desires mercy over sacrifice. Both are good if put in its proper perspective.  Sacrifice and mercy can become bad if misapplied.  They are good when we use them as Christ did.   They are good if we choose sacrifice for ourselves and mercy for others; they can become bad things if on the contrary we choose mercy for ourselves and sacrifice for others, that is, if we are indulgent with ourselves and rigorous with others, ready to excuse ourselves and quick to judge others. Fr. Cyril Kuttiyanikkal CMI


July 15, 2016

REFLECTION: A hundred times a day, parents are bombarded by requests from their children. Some of these requests are entirely reasonable, and parents are glad to grant them. Some of these requests are clearly unreasonable, and parents have no problem refusing them. But some of these requests are border-line cases: half-reasonable, half-unreasonable. If their child has been quite naughty of late, they might refuse such requests—which in normal circumstances they would grant. Now, if their child starts crying with heartrending sobs, some parents might relent when their child’s weeping hits a particularly tender chord in their hearts…

In today’s first reading we witness how God first decrees the death of King Hezekiah (a very good king) and how, upon hearing Hezekiah weeping with heart-rending sobs, God relents and grants him another 15 years of life. And he even guarantees his favorable response by a miracle!

We call God “our Father in heaven.” And he is really our Father. So he can change his mind about what he plans to give us, when we fervently ask him to do so. Like any parent, some things we do can hit a tender chord in his heart.


See Today’s Readings:  Year I,   Year II

Back to: Friday of the 15th Week of the Year

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One Response to Friday of the 15th Week of the Year

  1. Fr.Micheal says:

    Greetings from Fr.Micheal from India. Father, I thank you for the inspiring homilies and thought provoking in my life.

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