In today’s first reading (Exodus 11:10-12:14), we have the institution of that most sacred of rituals, the Passover supper:
This day shall be a memorial feast for you,
which all your generations shall celebrate
with pilgrimage to the LORD, as a perpetual institution.
But in the Gospel (Matthew 12:1-8), our Lord countermands an accepted rule for the Sabbath, the most sacred day of the week: appealing to reason, precedent, and his own authority.
Of course, disagreements about rules for worship and devotion continue within all parts of the Judeo-Christian tradition to this day (and they will continue until the Day of the Lord), but the underlying themes and apparent tension of today’s readings should give all of us occasion to reflect.
In such disagreements, too many of us (liberals and conservatives) are too much like the Pharisees in today’s Gospel: thinking of criticism before charity and focusing vehemently on our favorite Authoritative Phrases (Papal, Curial, Conciliar, Scriptural, etc.) to the exclusion of all else.
No matter who we are or what “camp” we may belong to, whether it be a matter of theology or liturgy or action, wherever there is conflict within the Church, we would do well always to hold firmly to these three pillars: charity, fidelity, and right order.
May the Lord Jesus Christ always give his Church an abundance of charity, faithfulness, and discernment so that we may follow him in truth and grace.