The good news for the day July 15

Friday of the Fifteenth Week in Ordinary Time (393)

Jesus was walking near a harvest field on the Day of Prayer. His students—hungry—began to pick heads off the crop and snack on them. When religious leaders noticed this, they criticized Jesus, “Look, your students are doing something forbidden by law on the Day of Prayer.” Jesus answered them, “Haven’t you read what David did when he and his guerilla soldiers were hungry—how he went into the shrine and ate the sacred bread, which neither he nor his troops—only the priests—could eat legally? Or haven’t you read in the law that on the Day of Prayer the priests serving in the temple violate regulations for the Day of Prayer and remain innocent? I am telling you, something greater than the “Sacred Place” is here. If you knew what this meant, “I DESIRE COMPASSION RATHER THAN RITUAL” you would not have judged these innocents. The truth is, The Human is in charge of the Day of Prayer.” (Matthew 12)

Our culture—in its many dimensions—requires you to conform to the way other people act. You live under all sorts of laws and rules. Religion and politics—as well as society—tells you the right way to behave. So do the expectations of your friends, the way your family operates, and your job, neighbors, and social life—online or in a parking lot. They add up to requirements forbidding you to deviate. They form a kind of law.

Many of these serve for your safety and civility—how to respect one another. Many “requirements” are part of good character—the wisdom of listening to others. But—like the men in the field here—you and I do nonconformist things and get criticized—sometimes ridiculed. Jesus points out how history teaches you—to break rules, to “nonconform” when it is a matter of compassion, of hunger, of life. Rituals—sacred and profane—you set aside when it is not so much a matter of convenience but of real need—life-giving relief and ANY authentic life-giving issue. You give life—that is the bottom line! Whatever gives life (food, shelter) trumps everything else


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