FRIDAY 15TH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME YEAR II
ISAIAH 38:1-6,21-22,7-8, MATTHEW 12:1-8
LOVE COMES BEFORE THE LAW
In life, each person has one thing or the other to pray for. Some have huge prayer intentions and some have just a simple one. I remember one of the Mark Angel Comedy skits when a rich man went inside the church to pray that his multi million naira project should succeed. In the same church, a poor man was praying that God should give him his daily bread. The prayer of the poor man was so loud that the rich man could not concentrate to pray. In anger, the rich man gave him N1,000 so that he could leave the church for him to have the serenity to pray.
In the first reading of today, we see the king Hezekiah praying to God to spare his life from death. The king had all the best things of life and was not praying for more money or material things, he was only praying for more time to enjoy what he had. Since he was a good and righteous man, God added 15 more years to his years. As the psalmist says today, God held his life from the pit of doom.
In the gospel reading, we see the Apostles of Jesus suffering from hunger and were therefore picking ears of corn to eat. The Jewish culture was sensitive to the needs of the poor and needy who either do not have lands to farm or could not afford it. During harvest therefore, people were expected to leave few ears of their crops so that those who do not have could move round and get it for themselves. It is the same practice we have in some African cultures. A man who plucks few mango fruits in the farm or compound of his neighbour just for the sake of eating because he is hungry is not called a thief. It is the one who plucks many of them to take home or to go and sell that is regarded as a thief.
The pharisees did not have a problem with the Apostles that they were picking ears of corn to eat, the problem they had with them was because it was the sabbath day. The pharisees obviously had food in their homes and were not hungry, less they would have understood with the poor and hungry Apostles. Citing other examples, Jesus therefore admonished them that laws are made by man to help man, and love comes before the law.
We all have different intentions; just as some people are praying for their business to grow or for their project to blossom, many are praying just to have food on their table. It is therefore inhuman to make or enforce a law that does not consider the human person above every other thing.
No matter your prayers and intentions today, may almighty God also send you good news like Hezekiah through Christ our Lord. Amen. God help us.
Fr Michael Osatofoh Eninlejie MSP