It’s Time to Love God
29 October 2021, Friday of the 30th Week in the Ordinary Time
Memorial of Bl Michael Rua, 1st Successor of Don Bosco
Lk 14: 1-6
Today, in the Gospel, Jesus cures on a Sabbath. Many of us interpret this incident that Jesus has changed and even abolished the law on the observance of the Sabbath. By doing this, Jesus shows hatred and indifference towards the scribes and the Pharisees. Can hatred and indifference bring about authentic change in us?
Jesus, as a pious Jew, loved the Law and all other things concomitant to it including the Sabbath. Did Jesus also love those who criticized Him? I think so. And Jesus, bearing patiently their unjust and harsh criticisms towards Him, speaks the truth in love. How?
First, legalism blinds the scribes and the Pharisees. In looking at Jesus, they’re finding faults from Him. In seeing the man suffering from dropsy, they make the Sabbath as the reason not to liberate him from his sickness. But by healing a man suffering from dropsy, Jesus shows to the scribes and the Pharisees that they too need healing from legalism that led them to self-righteousness and hypocrisy. Jesus speaks the truth in love by showing to them that by healing the sick man, God desires that their vision, blinded by legalism, self-righteousness and hypocrisy, be restored.
Second, in speaking the truth in love, Jesus never goes down to the level of the scribes and the Pharisees. Their harsh criticisms manifest their mediocrity for they water down their relationship with God as merely expressions of dogmatism, activism and ritualism. By healing a sick man on a Sabbath, Jesus shakes not only their consciousness but raises the need for authenticity and transparency. What is Jesus telling us today? Ethics without worship is empty. Worship without ethics is a baloney.
Third, by healing on a Sabbath, Jesus speaks the truth in love of God and of others. The Sabbath belongs to God. And so, all the other days and months, times and seasons belong to God. Love can never be legislated. Love is the fulfillment of the law. Being good and doing good can never be conditioned by time. When somebody asks us, “What time is it?” Our reply is, “It’s time to love God!”
Today is the memorial of Blessed Michael Rua, the 1st Successor of St John Bosco. Blessed Michael Rua is known as the faithful interpreter of the Salesian rule. He never interpreted it by strict compliance. When beatified by St Pope Paul VI last 29 October 1972, the Holy Father pointed out how Blessed Rua was faithful to Don Bosco and creative in responding to the needs of his time in this manner, “The Salesian Family owes its origin to Don Bosco, to Fr. Rua its continuation… he developed the Saint’s example into a school, his Rule into a spirit, his holiness into a model. He turned the spring into a river.” If Blessed Rua is considered by the Salesians as Don Bosco’s living rule, it is because all his life, imbued by the Salesian spirit and charism, he loved Jesus who was present among the young.
If you and I see and feel the depth and the height, the width and the length of God’s love, nothing can stop us from being good and in doing good. What time is it? It’s time to love God. When we love, the law is neither changed nor abolished but fulfilled. Amen!
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