Friday July 15, 2022

Friday’s Good News Reflection

Making scripture meaningful to your daily life

Photo quote for today's Good News Reflection
Today’s Good News: Mercy is the tool for bringing people into a genuine desire to obey the rules.
Good News Reflection for:

Friday of the 15th Week of Ordinary Time
Memorial of Saint Bonaventure, Bishop and Doctor of the Church
July 15, 2022

Today’s Prayer:

I want to thank You, Lord, for the freedom You gained for me. Grant me the grace to serve You free from constraints and worldly prejudices. Amen.

SaintsSubscribe to Today’s Saint Quote & Prayer:


Today’s Readings:

Isaiah 38:1-6, 21-22, 7-8
Isaiah 38:10-12, 16
Matthew 12:1-8
USCCB Podcast of the Readings:

Is there room for mercy in the law?

[ Listen to the podcast of this reflection ]

When our daughter was age four, my husband and I tried to sign her up for school a year before the local laws said she could start. A bright and sociable darling, she needed the daily stimulation that Kindergarten could provide, because whenever she got bored, she became a troublemaker. We presented her case to the school authorities, who judged her without meeting her or testing her. They said she wasn’t ready because “that’s our policy.”

After wasting a year and starting Kindergarten when the rules permitted it, a placement test quickly moved her to First Grade. When she graduated from high school, instead of having the problems that the school board had predicted, she was a well-adjusted, ambitious young lady with high honors and a few college courses already completed.

The educational authorities we had faced were like the religious authorities Jesus dealt with in today’s Gospel reading. The question raised in both situations was: Which is more important, the policy or the person?

The policy that the Pharisees were trying to protect is one of the 10 commandments: Keep the Sabbath day holy. An over-eager man-made policy had been layered on top of it to ensure obedience. It forbade any kind of work that day, including the smallest act of plucking grain. The Pharisees adhered to this interpretation of God’s commandment so closely that they violated his law of mercy. It didn’t matter that the disciples were hungry; the rules were more important.

We become like the Pharisees when we focus on what people “ought” to do while neglecting their needs. Is it merciful when altar servers are publicly corrected during Mass when they make mistakes, embarrassing them as they try to serve the Lord? Is it merciful to give parents a disapproving look when their restless children make noise in church?

What about putting someone into jail for a crime he committed, even though his regrets are strong enough to prevent him from doing it again? Or kicking a teenage girl out of the home because she got pregnant and chose not to have an abortion? Or condemning a couple who marry outside the Church, when what they really need is someone to compassionately journey with them into a conversation about sacramental love, so that when they finally want a Church wedding, it will be much more of a genuine commitment with the Lord than it would have been on their first wedding day?

Even the official Code of Canon Law encourages mercy. Dispensation from the laws is to be granted when the law works against a person’s salvation (for example, see Chapter 5 of Title 4, Canon Laws 85-93). Love is the foundation of every divinely inspired rule, and mercy is the tool for bringing people into a genuine desire to obey the rules.

Thank you for reflecting with us on this Friday of the 15th Week of Ordinary Time!

To help you reflect further on this, go to our WordByte called: “When our shepherds fail to protect us” @

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