The Church of Saint Agnes

1680 Dixie Highway, Fort Wright, KY 41011

The Church of Saint Agnes
1680 Dixie Highway, Fort Wright, KY 41011

Saint Agnes School | Contact Us

15th Week in Ordinary Time

Fri, 07/17/2015
Rev. Msgr. Donald Enzweiler

There’s a little bit of Pharisee in all of us.
When we don’t like someone, when they’ve rubbed us the wrong way,
we respond by justifying our dislike.
We start looking for what is wrong in this person’s life,
their flaws, deficiencies, shortcomings.
We sift their words and actions with a fine-toothed comb
not wanting to miss an opportunity to find evidence that puts them in a bad light.
Any goodness this person displays is a façade, a false front, a show.
We know.
If you look close enough, get beyond the veneer, the surface,
this person is someone most people would dislike, just like we do.
For any number of reasons the Pharisees don’t like Jesus.
In their eyes he’s misleading the people. And it’s their mission to uncover the scam.
They look for opportunities to bring to light his unorthodox behavior,
his disregard for established, God-given laws;
trying to show that if Jesus were really of God, he would not violate God’s laws.
But they are observing Jesus with eyes that have been trained
according to an exaggerated interpretation of the law.
What began as “keep the Sabbath holy”  over the years became
“here are all the things you cannot do on the Sabbath:”
Sowing, Plowing, Reaping, Binding sheaves, Threshing, Winnowing, Selecting, Grinding, Sifting, Kneading, Baking, Shearing wool, Washing wool, Beating wool, Dyeing wool, Spinning, Weaving, Making two loops, Weaving two threads, Separating two threads, Tying, Untying, Sewing stitches, Tearing, Trapping, Slaughtering, Flaying, Tanning, Scraping hide, Marking hides, Cutting hide to shape, Writing two or more letters, Erasing two or more letters, Building, Demolishing, Extinguishing a fire, Kindling a fire, Putting the finishing touch on an object, Transporting an object between a private domain and the public domain, Transporting an object for a distance of 4 cubits within the public domain. (4 cubits is about 6 feet).
I believe it was Abraham Lincoln who once said
“if you look for the bad in people, you will surely find it.”
Why didn’t the religious leaders through the Old Testament take a positive approach
and say “here are all the good things you should be doing on the Sabbath to keep it holy?”
Maybe it’s time for us to shift our habits of perceiving from negative to positive—
time to transcend our old way of being, of seeing, of naming our world.
Instead of saying “look at all the sin” we can say “Lord, help me to see the grace.”
There is an advantage to seeing sin in others.
It helps us justify keeping distant from them.  After all, we’re supposed to stay away from sin.
And by keeping distant we don’t have to be reminded of our failure
to act with compassion and responsibility.
“O Lord, help me to discover what blinds me, what keeps me from seeing Your truth.  Amen!”
the Pharisees complained to Jesus when the saw his disciples picking and eating grain on a Sabbath.
“Your disciples are doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath.”
Jesus responded to them with OT scripture
Have you not read what David did?
He and his companions went into the House of God and ate the bread of offering.
Have you not read  “the priests in Temple service violate the Sabbath and are innocent?”
Jesus said “something greater than the Temple is here.”
“you are violating something greater than the Temple by rejecting me”
I desire mercy, not sacrifice
If you knew this, you would not condemn these innocent men
“The Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.”
conflict grows between Jesus and the Pharisees
Jesus proclaims his disciples to be innocent
controversy story
Jesus is not anti-Torah or anti-Sabbath
but takes issue with overdevelopment of Sabbath regulation by the Pharisees
the OT command is to keep the Sabbath holy
over time the religious leaders determined 39 different types of work that were forbidden on the Sabbath
mercy—deeds of loving kindness
Reading 1 EX 11:10—12:14
Although Moses and Aaron performed various wonders
in Pharaoh’s presence,
the LORD made Pharaoh obstinate,
and he would not let the children of Israel leave his land.
The LORD said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt,
“This month shall stand at the head of your calendar;
you shall reckon it the first month of the year.
Tell the whole community of Israel: On the tenth of this month
every one of your families must procure for itself a lamb,
one apiece for each household.
If a family is too small for a whole lamb,
it shall join the nearest household in procuring one
and shall share in the lamb
in proportion to the number of persons who partake of it.
The lamb must be a year-old male and without blemish.
You may take it from either the sheep or the goats.
You shall keep it until the fourteenth day of this month, and then,
with the whole assembly of Israel present,
it shall be slaughtered during the evening twilight.
They shall take some of its blood
and apply it to the two doorposts and the lintel
of every house in which they partake of the lamb.
That same night they shall eat its roasted flesh
with unleavened bread and bitter herbs.
It shall not be eaten raw or boiled, but roasted whole,
with its head and shanks and inner organs.
None of it must be kept beyond the next morning;
whatever is left over in the morning shall be burned up.
“This is how you are to eat it:
with your loins girt, sandals on your feet and your staff in hand,
you shall eat like those who are in flight.
It is the Passover of the LORD.
For on this same night I will go through Egypt,
striking down every first born of the land, both man and beast,
and executing judgment on all the gods of Egypt—I, the LORD!
But the blood will mark the houses where you are.
Seeing the blood, I will pass over you;
thus, when I strike the land of Egypt,
no destructive blow will come upon you.
“This day shall be a memorial feast for you,
which all your generations shall celebrate
with pilgrimage to the LORD, as a perpetual institution.”
Responsorial Psalm PS 116:12-13, 15 AND 16BC, 17-18
R. (13) I will take the cup of salvation, and call on the name of the Lord.
How shall I make a return to the LORD
for all the good he has done for me?
The cup of salvation I will take up,
and I will call upon the name of the LORD.
R. I will take the cup of salvation, and call on the name of the Lord.
Precious in the eyes of the LORD
is the death of his faithful ones.
I am your servant, the son of your handmaid;
you have loosed my bonds.
R. I will take the cup of salvation, and call on the name of the Lord.
To you will I offer sacrifice of thanksgiving,
and I will call upon the name of the LORD.
My vows to the LORD I will pay
in the presence of all his people.
R. I will take the cup of salvation, and call on the name of the Lord.
Alleluia JN 10:27
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
My sheep hear my voice, says the Lord,
I know them, and they follow me.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel MT 12:1-8
Jesus was going through a field of grain on the sabbath.
His disciples were hungry
and began to pick the heads of grain and eat them.
When the Pharisees saw this, they said to him,
“See, your disciples are doing what is unlawful to do on the sabbath.”
He said to the them, “Have you not read what David did
when he and his companions were hungry,
how he went into the house of God and ate the bread of offering,
which neither he nor his companions
but only the priests could lawfully eat?
Or have you not read in the law that on the sabbath
the priests serving in the temple violate the sabbath
and are innocent?
I say to you, something greater than the temple is here.
If you knew what this meant, I desire mercy, not sacrifice,
you would not have condemned these innocent men.
For the Son of Man is Lord of the sabbath.”