Bible Text: “I desire mercy and not sacrifice” Matthew 12. 1-8
There is a difference between mercy and sacrifice. Mercy is compassionate treatment of those in distress while sacrifice is an act of surrendering a possession as an offering to God for the atonement of sins. Jesus was moved with great compassion when He saw His disciples starving to death after a long journey from their mission. His heart is overwhelmed with so much love for His disciples rather than over concerned with the law that He fed them and prepared to be criticized if it is the prize of his generosity. I do not blame the Pharisees for their insistence on the law because that is how they are trained and educated for.
However, what Jesus would like them to realize in the interplay between mercy and sacrifice.
Compassion is the fruit of sacrifice while sacrifice should teach compassion. Man’s sinfulness separates him from God which left man helplessly. Humans are too dependent to God that they live without God. They are nothing without God so to speak. Sacrifice is offered by humans to appease with God. The very purpose of sacrifice is to restore the connection between God and man so that the life of God will flow once again towards human. This is what Jesus wanted us to teach in this particular gospel text. Through sacrifice, we should understand how God’s mercy works. In this situation, when confronted with this real situation wherein the disciples are in dire need on the very day of Sabbath, what does it call for you, is it mercy or the law that prevents you to be generous to those in need?
Friday is the day when God offered Himself as a sacrifice in behalf of mankind. Jesus did it because He was greatly moved by so much compassion for us. We are here to offer sacrifice so that we can learn mercy be compassionate to the needy. After offering yourself during mass, how do you perceive the needy? If your heart bled for them because of so much compassion then you have offered real sacrifice to God.
Lord, teach us to offer real sacrifice so that we can learn compassion.