Daily Reflection
October 13th, 1999
Fr. Rich Gabuzda
University College
Romans 2:1-11
Luke 11:42-46

In the midst of life’s complexities, we often resort to an approach to life that might be called “all or nothing.”  Striking a balance in life can seem so difficult that we want to rest on one side or the other.  I’ll really work on studying for classes, but then I completely let go of friendships or good relaxation.  I sink myself into my job, but then life in the family suffers.

Among the “woes” dealt out to the Pharisees, Jesus accuses them of their own version of “all or nothing.”  They scrupulously observe laws dealing with paying tithes, but, according to Jesus, neglect “justice and the love of God.”  Although we would be tempted to heap scorn on the Pharisees, tell them to give up paying those tithes and get on with the more important concerns of justice and love, Jesus has a different approach.  He tells them, “These are the things you should practice [justice and love] without omitting the others [the tithes].”

Jesus’ advice is a healthy corrective to the tendency to see the Church world divided into those who are truly observant in terms of prayer forms, church attendance, financial support, etc., and those who truly practice works of justice and love.  This tendency can lead to one group looking critically at the other.  Jesus would invite us to see the importance of both--indeed, to see them springing from the same heart.  Hearts on fire with the love of God, expressed in praise and worship, ought to be aflame with love and works of justice.  It’s not “all or nothing” but “both/and.” 

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