October 31, 2014
Friday of the 30th Week in the Ordinary Time A
Knowledge and Discernment
St Paul remembers in his letter the Christians in Philippi with great affection, because they were his faithful partners in the proclamation of the Gospel in his good and bad days. He wishes that they should remain faithful to Jesus Christ until the work which he has begun in them attains completion. The divine gifts for which St. Paul prays for them are knowledge and discernment.
Knowledge and discernment are the gifts which enable us to judge what is excellent and praiseworthy in God’s sight. They give us the fruits of righteousness, truth and justice which come through Jesus Christ. In Jesus Christ we find the ultimate norm of truth and justice. He reveals divine righteousness, divine truth and divine justice, through his words and actions.
Very often our judgments and evaluations are based on human righteousness. In all possibility, they can go wrong, because our minds are prejudiced by what is apparent to us. We pass our judgments based on our limited vision of reality.
In today’s Gospel Jesus tells us that we need a piercing vision of reality, which goes beyond our ordinary conception of things. We have to test our own ideas and practices with a critical mind, instead of taking them for granted and imposing them on others. Jesus gives us an example. He puts a question to the lawyers and Pharisees “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath, or not?” This question is a double-edged sword which can cut in both ways. That is why the lawyers and Pharisees kept quiet without answering it.
Jesus wanted to awaken their moral conscience and sense of responsibility. He invited them for a rethinking of their favourite religious practice of Sabbath which they obeyed scrupulously and imposed on others mercilessly. According to Jesus no law should contradict mercy and kindness. He attends to the needs of the sick, the poor and the weak, rather than inflicting upon them a longer suffering in the name of Sabbath. It is the righteousness of God which turns human righteousness upside down. It is possible for us to follow the divine righteousness when we acquire the knowledge and discernment that comes from Jesus Christ. That is what we have to wish for ourselves and pray for.
Dr Sebastian Elavathingal CMI