By Jim Orcutt, Co-Founder of My Brother's Keeper

These personal reflections on the Monday gospel represent my insight of Christ’s message as viewed through the lens of my life experience. It is my hope that others will be inspired to reflect upon their views as well.
Date: July 17, 2015
July 17, 2015

Gospel MT 12:1-8

Jesus was going through a field of grain on the sabbath.
His disciples were hungry
and began to pick the heads of grain and eat them.
When the Pharisees saw this, they said to him,
“See, your disciples are doing what is unlawful to do on the sabbath.”
He said to the them, “Have you not read what David did
when he and his companions were hungry,
how he went into the house of God and ate the bread of offering,
which neither he nor his companions
but only the priests could lawfully eat?
Or have you not read in the law that on the sabbath
the priests serving in the temple violate the sabbath
and are innocent?
I say to you, something greater than the temple is here.
If you knew what this meant, I desire mercy, not sacrifice,
you would not have condemned these innocent men.
For the Son of Man is Lord of the sabbath.”


It was the Sabbath day. The Pharisees, seeing Jesus’ disciples reap grain with their hands while walking through the fields, accused Jesus and his friends of breaking Moses’ law of no harvesting on the Sabbath.

They said, “See, your disciples are doing what is unlawful to do on the sabbath.”

Quoting Hosea 6:6, Jesus reminds the Pharisees that God is not looking for strict adherence to manmade rules. God wants us to have the same merciful and loving hearts toward each other as He has shown us.

Jesus replied to the Pharisees, “If you knew what this meant, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned these innocent men.”

God is looking for us to be merciful toward one another. The definition of mercy is: “Compassion or forgiveness shown toward someone whom it is within one’s power to punish or harm.”

I can’t help but think of the countless times that God has shown “compassion and forgiveness” to me when by human standards, I should have been punished.

All that God is asking is that I show that same mercy with others, even when they are guilty of sinning against me.

In the Lord’s prayer, Jesus says it another way, “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.”

“You do not want me to bring sacrifices; You do not desire burnt offering; True sacrifice to God is a contrite spirit; God you will not despise a contrite and crushed heart.” Psalm 51:18-19

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