THE WEEK OF TRINITY XVII – TUESDAY
LESSON: MATTHEW 15:1‒9
Jesus spoke to the lawyers and Pharisees, saying, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath, or not?” Luke 14:3
The lawyers and Pharisees, of course, did not believe that it was lawful to heal or to do anything else on the Sabbath day. In this Gospel (Luke 14:1‒11), Jesus shows them that all laws, divine or human, bind us only as far as love permits. For Christians, love must always make the final decision in the interpretation of all laws. Where there is no love, all is over. The Law can only be harmful, no matter what the situation may be.
It is even a principle of canon law that if any law runs counter to love, it should be set aside as soon as possible. This, in a word, is stated both of divine and human commandments. The reason for this is that all laws have been enacted for the sole purpose of setting up the principle of love, as Paul also reminds us in Romans when he says, “Owe no one anything, except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law.” Likewise: “Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law” (Romans 13:8, 10).
We owe no one anything but to love one another. If I love my neighbor, I help him, protect him, accord him his due honors, and do to him what I would have others do to me.
Therefore, since all laws should help to establish the principle of love, they must cease immediately that they run counter to love. In this Gospel, Christ’s deed of love to the man with the dropsy was far above any of the regulations pertaining to Sabbath observance.
SL 11:1677 (8‒9)
PRAYER: O God, let us never become so immersed in useless quibbles about rules and regulations that we forget our real duties of love to our neighbor. Keep our vision pure and unblurred, in Jesus’ name. Amen.