Thursday of the Twenty-Sixth Week in Ordinary Time
Memorial Feast: Saint Jerome, Priest—(342-+420) Patron Saint of Librarians, Archivists, Translators, and Encyclopedists
Book of Nehemiah 8:1-4a, 5-6, 7b-12, Psalm 19:8, 9, 10,11, & Luke 10:1-2
"The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few."
Today's readings portray Jesus differently; therefore, He may be a bit difficult to recognize. We examine how our Lord is laying down the law. In sending out pairs of what today we might call 'advance men,' He prescribes a whole list of explicit dos and don'ts, such as what to bring, what to wear, where to eat and sleep, what to say, and when to be quiet. He even instructs them how to act if they are shunned and includes a warning of dire consequences.
Whatever Jesus' intent, we know for a fact that the laws of God do exist. The Jewish people of the Old Testament certainly had them. In our first reading Ezra, the scribe, read for hours to the people from the book of the law of Moses. The Lord Jesus did not abolish the law, only the way it was being followed. However, laws with all their prescriptions and penalties are sometimes hard for us to accept and respect. The context of our society, with its emphasis on individual freedom and its de-emphasis of personal responsibility, prompts us to balk at any intrusion of government laws in our lives.
On further reflection, are we making the mistake of equating man's law with God's law? In recent weeks, the liturgies have sought to remind us that God's ways are not our ways. However, we see the political direction of cities, states, and nations with the laws they produce, but those are not God's laws. Friends, God's laws do not burden nor restrict; they lighten and liberate. They free us of our anger and anxieties. They loosen our excessive attachments to property, possession, and sometimes even people. They lighten our load by throwing off our pride, envy, and resentments. They beckon us to love our neighbors as ourselves.
In the end, we become free, like the Israelites, who, on hearing God's Law went out to "celebrate with great joy, for they understood the words that had been expounded to them."
Question of the Day: How will you listen to your call and find holiness in your life?
Prayer: "The precepts of the Lord give joy to the heart. Amen."