Thursday, July 14, 2005



JULY 15, 2005

EXODUS 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."

MATTHEW 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."

One of the attractive images of Jesus we find in the Gospels is that
of liberator: Jesus defending the weak from the oppression of the
rich and the powerful, freeing people from the clutches of a rigid
observance of the Law, upsetting the status quo. But this image would
lose its appeal the minute we find ourselves on the other side of the
conflict: when we identify with the holders of power (religious or
not), when we believe in the sense of order and security that
proceeds from a diligent enforcing of laws and traditions, or when we
generally prefer that our lives be spared from major changes and

Our Gospel today shows Jesus in one such episode of challenging the
authorities of His time, authorities that trace their origins all the
way back to experiences of the Jewish nation, as foundational as the
story of their escape from Egypt recounted in our first reading. But
does Jesus here simply prescribe a throwing away of tradition and
laws? Perhaps we need to reflect on our traditions, religious and

In the history of the Church, Vatican II was a significant moment of
reckoning with religious tradition. The resulting reflection by
theologians and scholars argued that Tradition cannot be "continuity
without change" (a view of Church that is too static, unrealistic,
and denies the reality of change in history). Neither should it
be "change without commitment to continuity" (an approach that risks
becoming relativistic and arbitrary, each to his/her own). To resist
all change is not good. Neither is it good to worship all change.
Rather, Tradition upheld through history should always be "change-in-
continuity", a balance between creativity and fidelity, determined by
communing with the "Lord of the sabbath" who continues to live in us
as individuals and as a believing community.

A scholar once wrote, "Every legitimate step forward must be a step
backward." Every move towards change, newness, and personal identity,
must be also a move towards rootedness in the history of the family
and most of all in the long history between God and humanity.

Jesus walking through the standing grain, challenging the authority
of the Law, invites us to pass "from the security of death into the
uncertainty of life." May we be true to our calling, through prayer
and dialogue, to be faithful to the continuity of Tradition, and to
be creatively open to the newness of Tradition, which is in the final
analysis, the Will and Word of God for us all.

"Lord, make us to walk in your way: `Where there is love and wisdom,
there is neither fear nor ignorance; where there is patience and
humility, there is neither anger nor annoyance; where there is
poverty and joy, there is neither greed nor avarice; where there is
peace and contemplation, there is neither care nor restlessness;
where there is the fear of God to guard the dwelling, there no enemy
can enter; where there is mercy and prudence, there is neither excess
nor harshness'; this we know through your Son, Jesus Christ our
Lord." (Prayer of Francis of Assisi, 1182-1226)

We pray ...
- for a deep and profound respect for life, especially for the
- for the speedy recovery of Ernesto Hernandez.
- for the personal intentions of Cresencia.
- for the special intentions of Cha.
- for the speedy recovery of Nikki L. Pasague.
- for all the prayer intentions in the MTQ Dailyprayer Diary.
- Prayer Intention: Neo Catechumenal Communities
- for world peace and reconciliation.

Finally, we pray for one another, for those who have asked our
prayers and for those who need our prayers the most.

Have a good day!

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