Daily Reflection
September 6th, 2008

Janine ter Kuile

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Then he said to them, "The Son of Man is lord of the sabbath." Luke 6: 5

This gospel brings up a great discussion about legality and morality. It has something to do with legalists being law-minded for the wrong reasons. Christ, when accused by the Pharisees, defends his disciples’ eating from the fields, as satisfying their human needs. Neither were acts of mercy or healing allowed on the Sabbath. It makes us wonder then, about the purpose of this ridiculously extreme legalism that caused thousands of Jews to be butchered in the streets of Jerusalem on a Sabbath rather than take up arms to defend themselves.

We know the reasons why Jesus was rejected; he brought blessings to the Gentiles, he claimed to be God, he associated with sinners, and he didn’t keep the Sabbath. So is it really about the law? Or is it about who Jesus was? He had the right to set aside the law, which was to be done away with. He came after all, to give us new and better commandments!

When legalists refuse to interpret the law in the light of the spirit in which it was given, it is used to entice us to sin. In keeping the law, like the Pharisees, let’s not become experts at avoiding its commands. God’s law requires mercy and compassion.

In Men and Women for Others, Pedro Arrupe says, “To be drugged by the comforts of privilege is to become contributors to injustice as silent beneficiaries of the fruits of injustice…(we must be of) a decision to work with others toward the dismantling of unjust social structures so that the weak, the oppressed, the marginalized of this world may be set free.”

We must pray continually for people of law and authority in the world who, given the burden of responsibility to make just decisions affecting the lives of others, will be surrounded by the Spirit.

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