– Friday of the 30th Week in Ordinary Time –
And Jesus asked the lawyers and Pharisees, “Is it lawful to cure people on the sabbath, or not?” But they were silent. So Jesus took him and healed him, and sent him away. (Luke 14:3-4)
This interaction with the Pharisees is reminiscent of another occasion where Jesus challenged their perceptions of the Law. In Mark 2, when his disciples were criticised for plucking grain as they walked through the fields, Jesus responded: “The sabbath was made for humankind, and not humankind for the sabbath” (Mark 2:27).
The Pharisees were more focused on following the letter of the Law than they were the spirit of the Law, which is to say, the reasons for such rules. This legalistic culture was warping how they were seeing and experiencing God.
It can feel like our Church can have many ‘rules’; a lot of teachings that, if we don’t understand them, can affect how we experience God. If there is an element of our faith that we struggle with, a teaching we do not understand, we should try to understand it. Our Catholic faith is not a delicate fabric that, if we start to pull one thread, will completely fall apart. Rather our own personal faith can grow and flourish when we learn more about it.
However, as we seek to understand, we shouldn’t repeat the failures of the Pharisees by focusing on laws and the rituals. We should fix our eyes on Jesus, trying to understand him through these teachings and remembering the encouragement of Saint Augustine: “Seek not to understand that you may believe, but believe that you may understand.”
by Nattasha Mierendorf