Homily on the readings for Oct. 29, Friday of the XXX Week in OT, year II
“This is my prayer: that your love may increase ever more and more in knowledge and every kind of perception, to discern what is of value, so that you may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ”. St Paul’s prayer is one that we could all repeat, for our own behalf and for that of all of humanity. Discerning what is of value can be a great challenge! There are so many good things in the world, both material things and intangible values, that it can be quite difficult to keep a correct hierarchy of values.
The scribes of the law and Pharisees in today’s Gospel had skewed values: they put the cart before the horse, holding to the specifics of the law while disregarding compassion and love. Jesus shows them that their rigorism was wrong-headed by performing a healing on the Sabbath.
Jesus teaches us that what matters most is love. This doesn’t completely void or overrule all laws – there are principles that cannot be compromised – but it puts them in perspective and it helps us to distinguish between the essence of the laws – which is to know, love and serve God and other people – and the particular details of the law, which can be more or less arbitrary, and whose application requires discernment. This principle is actually codified in the law of the Church, in Canon Law, which says that the salvation of souls should be the supreme law of the Church.
May God grant us to continue to grow in wisdom to “discern what is of value” in our own lives to help serve God and those in need. And let us be filled with confidence that “the one who began a good work in [us] will continue to complete it until the day of Christ Jesus.”