The dial of a clock is a beautiful illustration of the way God deals with human life.
The hands on the dial of the clock are God’s Hands – passing over and over again…
• the short hand, being the Hand of God’s Discipline
• the long hand, being the Hand of God’s Mercy
• The short hand – the hand of Discipline…
…. passes slowly, but surely
… strikes at each hour too
• But the long hand – the hand of Mercy…
… passes much faster and surely too
… showers down sixtyfold of blessing for each strike of discipline
And another interesting aspect….?
Both the hands are fastened to one firm and secure point – the Beautiful Heart of the God of Love!
God’s discipline in the form of trials is a surety in life…
• But much more abundant in life, are His mercies that are scattered regularly all through…
And both these dimensions – Discipline & Mercies – stem forth from the Immense Love of God!
The Gospel of the Day is a beautiful presentation of Jesus as the God of Love who, though is a Disciplining God, displays His Heart of abundant mercy and invites His followers to become People of Merciful Love!
The Gospel passage begins the incident of the Disciples being caught by the Pharisees plucking the heads of grain and eating them, on the Sabbath Day.
The Pharisees who were the strict proponents and protectors of the Law, found it a great offence when they found the disciples were doing an “illegal and unlawful” act, as per their Sabbath prescriptions.
Therefore they accuse, “Look, Your disciples are doing what is not lawful to do on the Sabbath” (Mt 12:2)
But Jesus is quick to point out the folly that the Pharisees were falling into…
The folly of being crime-finders than being mercy-givers!
The folly of becoming petty-accusers than being generous-forgivers!
Jesus brings out two practical examples to show the “duplicity” and the “unkind” attitude of the Pharisees:
1. David’s ‘grave’ violation of the Sabbath was acceptable whereas the Disciples ‘minor’ act was condemned!
David unlawfully ate of the tabernacle showbread which was reserved only for the priests.
But this “not lawful” act of David was not condemned
The Disciples on the other, actually did not break the Law…
The Hebrew law had made provision for those in need to eat when they passed through a field of grain (Dt. 23:25; cf. Ruth 2:2-3)
But over the years, the tradition had evolved a series of ‘violations’ that were considered violations of the Sabbath Law.
One of these ‘violations’ was ‘ plucking and eating’ the grain – that the disciples did.
However, this act was most certainly not for commercial gain, as envisaged by the Law
Therefore, in reality, the Disciples had not really done anything “unlawful”
Yet, they were condemned!
2. The daily duty of the priests on the Sabbath was considered as being “normal” whereas the ‘exceptional’ act of the disciples to satisfy the basic human need of hunger was considered ‘aberrant’!
The work done by the Priests who served on the Sabbath Day, was acceptable.
However, the action done by the Disciples was considered violation of the Law!
Jesus makes another statement here, “I tell you, something greater than the Temple is here” (Mt 12: 6)
What was Jesus, in fact, also saying?
“You permit the priests of human-made temples to work, but you do not allow the Disciples of the Living Temple to work?
Is that not showing your duplicity on one side, and your lack of knowledge of the Messiah on the other?!”
And therefore, Jesus makes that bold and firm statement, echoing the prophet Hosea (6:6):
“I desire mercy, not sacrifice!” (Mt 12: 7)
Jesus passed through a field where condemnation was scattered; but He sows the seeds of mercy all around!
Today, you and me, are invited to do the same…
To become people who show mercy and compassion, rather than being “judgmental” and “overly-critical” people!
We are invited to be like the Lord, as illustrated in the ‘dial of a clock’:
Having a hand of discipline that passes only slowly…
But also having a hand of Mercy that traverses more often…
But both, being fastened tightly to a Heart, full of compassion and love!
We may live, passing through the fields of unjust condemnation and outright critics.
But like the Lord, may we become persons, who sow the seeds of Mercy and Compassion!
God Bless! Live Jesus!