Today’s lectionary has a Gospel verse that shows Jesus doing what he is called to do as the Son of God, despite the prohibitions of acting on the Sabbath, to the great dismay of the Pharisees. This passage shows the building tension between those who adhere to the Law for their justification and salvation vs. this Jesus, who adhered first and foremost to the Kingdom and God’s call as his justification, regardless of the law.
It is easy to read these stories in the Gospel and scoff at the Pharisees and feel like we would certainly be on Jesus’ side of this dichotomy. But, for myself, I wonder how often I hide behind convention and societal expectations when the God-centered response would be “unconventional.” It is too easy to turn away from those who are in need of our time, our talent, our treasures under the premise of adhering to societal norms, rather than turning toward those in need in the spirit of Jesus’ love. I think it true that we are, in our own times, more willing to judge others by what we consider to be the “law” of our society, of our times, and our expectations, than we are like the example of Jesus—led by love, by compassion, by God’s will as being supreme over the “Law.”
I, for one, view Lent as a time to ask myself these tough, but important questions. It is also a time to recommit to living more fully a life reflective of Jesus, rather than one that would make me a modern Pharisee. To reinforce that, the reading from 1 Corinthians states: “This is how one should regard us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God.”. My prayer for myself, for all of us, is that this is how we BE truly regarded, as servants of Christ and stewards of the many, many mysteries of our great and magnificent God. May God help us to live lives that make it so, through the grace of His son—Jesus Christ. Amen.
― Bob Meyer