Saturday, September 3, 2011

The Freedom of Excellence

Sat. 22nd Week Year 1
Gospel Lk 6,1-5

The disciples of Jesus are in trouble again.  Don’t they know that the law forbids the faithful from harvesting wheat on the Sabbath?  Surely the upstart rabbi from Nazareth knows, doesn’t he?  Yes, He knows the law and He can also see the difference between reaping a field of grain on the Sabbath and taking a few ears of grain to satisfy an immediate need.  Jesus is Lord of the Sabbath, not only because He is the God who is the author of the Law, but because as Man He had the wisdom and love to know when to bend the prescriptions of the law in favor of the law of charity.  As He would say at another time, we feed our animals on the Sabbath, can we not do good to a human being?  And were His opponents so really concerned about the honor of God or about using God’s law to their own advantage?  “Love and do what you please.” Says St. Augustine.  But he was not talking about that self-serving urge for satisfaction that our culture calls “love”.  Rather, he was speaking about the love that lives for the good of the other, that sacrifices self interest in order to give to the beloved.  When one’s whole being is oriented in this way, then one has that “freedom of excellence” that gives wisdom to make the best decisions in relationships.  Those who are busy straining out the gnats will not understand.  And in their anger they will continue to miss the camel.

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