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Monday, August 25, 2014

The Essential Gospel

"You have neglected the weightier things of the law: judgment and mercy and fidelity." Mt 23:24

The wise person knows he or she cannot do everything, and discerns how best to live a healthy and faith filled life. Some are able to celebrate the Eucharist everyday and this powerful spiritual practice can be grounding and enriching. Others take time in the car or on the train to begin their day with prayer, but when push comes to shove, it matters little what practices we have if we forget mercy and fidelity, and unfortunately that is what happened to the Pharisees.

The Pharisees sometimes get a bad name as a group while in fact most of them were considered progressive interpreters of the law. They tried to offer people a reasonable way to live the law, but Jesus was concerned, not with their politics, but with their unwillingness to show the kind of mercy required by the law, and he condemned them for laying heavy burdens on people's shoulders without making an effort to help them.

It's important for us to think about "the weightier" matters that ought to occupy Christian believers in the 21st century. How can be exhibit fidelity and mercy to those most in need, and how might the church work for justice in a world that is so divided by politics, religion and culture? Unless the Gospel is experienced as a path that proclaims the dignity of all people, Christians will fail to respond to Jesus' demand that our faith always express itself in mercy.

Today, be gentle and faithful to anyone who needs mercy.

What do you think are the weightiest concerns of the modern world?

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