The Laws of Charity

When I was in college, I used to encounter badjaos begging for money and food. They would jump into a jeepney and would hand out small envelopes before performing a song and dance. Sometimes, I would pretend to be asleep not only because I did not have enough money to share but also because I was aware of the anti-mendicancy law prohibiting almsgiving to beggars. This was just one of the circumstances when I wanted to do good things, but was prevented from doing so by the laws and rules. Afterwards, I would feel guilty not acting on the desire to do something good.

In the Gospel, Jesus’ disciples were picking the heads of the grains, which was unlawful on the Sabbath for the Pharisees. Jesus, on the other hand, reminded them of David’s actions when he and his companions ate the bread of offering that only priests could eat. Moreover, Jesus said, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. That is why the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.”

The Gospel presents two reminders and, at the same time, challenges for me. First, doing an act of kindness or goodness should never be delayed nor should it wait the perfect timing. We should always recognize its urgency. Second, it is okay if I choose to be charitable and set aside those man-made “do’s and don’ts” that would prevent me from doing what I ought. In both cases, discernment would lead us to what is the more loving thing to do. It is the Lord who will judge our actions in the end.

By: Sem. Edward R. Miana

Today’s Gospel

Mk 2:23-28

As Jesus was passing through a field of grain on the sabbath,
his disciples began to make a path while picking the heads of grain.
At this the Pharisees said to him,
“Look, why are they doing what is unlawful on the sabbath?”
He said to them,
“Have you never read what David did
when he was in need and he and his companions were hungry?
How he went into the house of God when Abiathar was high priest
and ate the bread of offering that only the priests could lawfully eat,
and shared it with his companions?”
Then he said to them,
“The sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath.
That is why the Son of Man is lord even of the sabbath.”

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