Scripture Reading: Matthew 12:9 – 14
Pope Francis saw the danger that lies in the notion that “this is how we used to do it” and warned that “a Christian who hides behind the notion that “this is how it’s always been done…” is committing a sin, becomes idolatry and disobedience leaves one’s life “patched up and half-and-half” because his heart is closed to the “newness of the Holy Spirit”. He, therefore, invites us to “free ourselves from this protocol in order to make room for God’s surprises.” There is a serious danger inherent in holding tenaciously to “how we used to do it.” When we follow protocols in the things of God, we might hinder the activity of the Holy Spirit which Pope Francis describes as the newness of the Holy Spirit. Imagine if a boy in an obvious distress approaches a minister of God for counseling and advice, and the minister turns down the request on grounds that “this is not my office time,” it could spell disaster. The Holy Spirit says that this action is wicked and stubborn. It shows that the minister of God lacks the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Jesus Christ says, “My meat is to do the will of He who sent me.” This minister is only doing his will and not the will of the one who sent him. Do you know that if God should follow protocols in saving us at times, the devil could have had ample opportunities to make mince meat of us? Dear Child of God, at certain times, the rigidity inherent in laws set by humans or even in interpreting the laws of God makes it very impossible to act swiftly in order to save souls, bring peace and save lives. The constant clash that Jesus had with the teachers of the law and the Pharisees was mostly hinged on that fact that Jesus saved lives even on the Sabbath. This is one of their reactions to Jesus’ healing: “The official of the synagogue was angry that Jesus healed on the Sabbath, so he spoke up and said to the people, ‘There are six days in which we should work; so come during those days and be healed, but not on the Sabbath’.” This mentality of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law stems out of “closed hearts” and the mindset that everything that does not agree with their personal desires is incorrect, untrue and unacceptable.
Thanks to our Lord Jesus Christ who constantly corrects our errors. He said thus, “I ask you: What does our Law allow us to do on the Sabbath? To help or to harm? To save a man’s life or to destroy it?” Beloved, following our Lord’s teachings, any custom, tradition, belief, system, principle that harms or hurts humanity should be revisited to have a human face. According to Pope Francis, “even customs must be renewed in the newness of the Holy Spirit, in the surprises of God.” Angelica Hope’s faulting the inherent danger in “as it was in the beginning mentality”, prayed that we be “gifted with wise flexibility.” Bill James also faulted rigidity that is bent on having its ways without recourse to the impact on a human being thus, “Standardization leads to rigidity, and rigidity causes things to break.” Positive change must be welcomed. The barriers we create in form of religion, ethnicity, race, beliefs, etc., often fall short of the expectations of Jesus from us. In the home front, some fathers may not want to help out a little with domestic chores all in the claim that it is the customary role of the woman to take care of the home. So many have been enslaved to certain dehumanizing traditions all because they want to keep to the status quo (how our fore-fathers use to do it). In hospitals, one finds some medical personnel who would not want to attend to emergency cases simply because it is their closing hour. Some will watch patients bleed to death, because they are waiting for a cash deposit to be made before medical treatment could commence. Dear Child of God, you are therefore challenged today to get rid of all sentiments, resentments, opinions, ideas, customs, traditions, principles, natural inclinations, etc., that make you overlook the call of God to show mercy, extend love, save lives and counsel a confused person. Every law is at the service of God for the good of humanity.
- Pray for open heart and openness to the promptings of the Holy Spirit.
- Pray for change of traditions that tie destines down due to covenants entered by our ancestors.
- Pray for divine intervention in traditions that still carry out human sacrifices, that it will be stopped.
Exercise: Be bold to leave every “dos” and “don’ts” and “mosts” that make the next person around you suffer.
Memory Verse: Mark 2:2.7