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Give Me A Break

Friday of the Fifteenth Week in Ordinary Time

My dear encountered couples:

The Pharisees were the religious watch dogs of the time. They seem to have always been looking to see if anyone was breaking the law in any little way at all; they were nitpickers. The disciples of Jesus were hungry, they were walking through a field and began picking heads of grain to nibble on. “You’re breaking the Sabbath law,” the Pharisees accused them. “You’re going to go to hell.” Jesus pointed out that King David and his men broke the law when they were hungry. Would the Pharisees condemn them?

Then he told them that if they understood the meaning of the Scripture text, “It is mercy I desire and not sacrifice,” they wouldn’t have been so quick with their condemnation. But that’s a trait of self-righteous people - quick to condemn, unwilling to understand and leave it alone. Sometimes, maybe, we all go through a phase in our lives when we feel we are God’s watch dogs. That we have to see to it that everyone else does what God wants them to do – or what we think God wants them to do. And if they don’t do it, our job is to correct them, to even condemn them.

The main trouble with watch dogs is that they are watching everybody and everything but themselves. They don’t see that often they are making a bigger mess in the yard than anyone else. They don’t think about the reasons anyone does something. They are just trained to bite when someone crosses the line.

I wonder how many watch dogs have bitten their own masters when they didn’t recognize them. I wonder how many Christians have condemned Christ. For what we do to others we do to him, he once said.

Jesus told the Pharisees “It is mercy I desire, not sacrifice.” In other words, “Boys: Give me a break!”

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