Tag Archives: Hosea 6:6

Saint Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist

“Saint Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist”
A reflection on Matthew 9:9-13, 12:6-8; Hosea 6:6
Related post: The Call of Matthew
©️2021 by Gloria M. Chang

As Jesus passed on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the customs post. He said to him, “Follow me.” And he got up and followed him. While he was at table in his house, many tax collectors and sinners came and sat with Jesus and his disciples. The Pharisees saw this and said to his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” He heard this and said, “Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do. Go and learn the meaning of the words, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.”

Matthew 9:9-13 (NABRE)

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.”

Matthew 12:6-8 (NABRE)

For I desire mercy and not sacrifice, 
And the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.

Hosea 6:6 (NKJV)

Laws of ritual purity dominated the culture of the Jews, from the temple precincts to the home and marketplace. Sacrifice and burnt offerings seemed to be the heart of true religion, along with avoidance of impure persons and objects. 

Jesus transcended the division between pure and impure, clean and unclean to embrace “tax collectors and sinners,” Jews and Gentiles. Jesus demonstrated that the true sacrifice and oblation of the heart are divine mercy and love for all without discrimination. 

The true temple of God is not a place, but a Person—Jesus Christ—who came to transform all persons into temples of the Holy Spirit.

One Body and One Spirit

Feast of Saint Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist

Ephesians 4:1-7, 11-13; Matthew 9:9-13

As Jesus passed by, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the customs post. He said to him, “Follow me.” And he got up and followed him. While he was at table in his house, many tax collectors and sinners came and sat with Jesus and his disciples. The Pharisees saw this and said to his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?”

Jesus could not please everyone. As he befriended “tax collectors and sinners,” the Pharisees and religious authorities distanced themselves from him. The Nazarene’s trespasses over the boundaries between “clean” and “unclean” raised eyebrows and provoked criticism and censure. The wonder-working son of a carpenter seemed to disregard ritual purity and the hallowed traditions of Judaism. 

Jesus was like a spiritual giant stepping into a little world of petty customs and prejudices. The arrows aimed at him, and the ropes used to tie him down, resembled the flimsy weapons used by the Lilliputians in Jonathan Swift’s novel to pin Gulliver to the ground. A futile endeavor! Divinized humanity will rise from the grave.

Jesus’ heart was vast as the heavens, emanating the healing rays of the Blessed Trinity in every direction. Mercy snapped the strings of the Lilliputians like dried out rubber bands. 

He heard this and said, “Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do. Go and learn the meaning of the words, I desire mercy, not sacrifice. I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.”

Jesus quoted the prophet Hosea from the revered canon of the Pharisees, “I desire mercy, not sacrifice” (Hosea 6:6) to show that he was a true son of Israel, not a rebel. Jesus revealed the Father’s heart by refusing to cocoon himself from the “contaminated” world of undesirables; no person fell outside of the Father’s love. 

Sharing a meal signified great intimacy in Hebrew culture. Jesus’ ultimate aim to transform and transfigure persons threw open the doors to the heavenly banquet hall. Is there a distinction between “the righteous” and “sinners,” “the well” and “the sick”? Didn’t the Divine Physician assume humanity as one, universal Adam beyond parsing and partitions? 

“Go and learn,” Jesus charged the pious and religious, to see yourself in your neighbor, and your neighbor in yourself. Segregation has no place in the Body of Christ and the communion of saints in the Trinity.

Brothers and sisters: I, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to live in a manner worthy of the call you have received, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another through love, striving to preserve the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace: one Body and one Spirit, as you were also called to the one hope of your call; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. 

-GMC

The Law Incarnate

Divine Mercy Icon

22nd Week in Ordinary Time, Saturday (Year II)

Luke 6:1-5

While Jesus was going through a field of grain on a sabbath, his disciples were picking the heads of grain, rubbing them in their hands, and eating them. Some Pharisees said, “Why are you doing what is unlawful on the sabbath?” Jesus said to them in reply, “Have you not read what David did when he and those who were with him were hungry? How he went into the house of God, took the bread of offering, which only the priests could lawfully eat, ate of it, and shared it with his companions?” Then he said to them, “The Son of Man is lord of the sabbath.”

With hawk-eyed precision, the restless experts in the law spent their Sabbath “rest” measuring the Immeasurable and his disciples. Walking through a field was unobjectionable, but picking, rubbing, and eating grain amounted to the forbidden labor of reaping, threshing, winnowing, and meal preparation on the Sabbath.

David, Jesus pointed out, received divine sanction to consume the holy bread of the tabernacle and share it with his starving companions (I Samuel 21:1-6). Not one iota of the law was transgressed, for mercy is the spirit of the law. Without mercy, the letter of the law is dead (Hosea 6:6). 

Jesus, the giver of the Sabbath, could not contradict himself by transgressing the law. By his merciful actions on the Sabbath, he demonstrated the heart and spirit of the law. What appeared to be transgression was the fulfillment of the law. 

“For the just man there is no law, he is a law unto himself,” St. John of the Cross discovered in his mystical Ascent of Mount Carmel. The deified person no longer operates on the earthly plane alone, but moves in synergy with the Holy Spirit. Divine and human action are virtually indistinguishable at the top of the mount, where self-emptying and detachment have given way to radical transformation by divine grace. 

As long as the law remains external, it judges and condemns persons. But when “it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me,” true freedom becomes possible (Galatians 2:20). Deification is complete identification with the law who is the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. 

“The Son of Man is lord of the sabbath,” declared Jesus, the Law Incarnate and gate to the deification of humankind. The person who has become one with the law “can judge everything but is not subject to judgment by anyone” (I Corinthians 2:15).

-GMC

Related post: Another Point of View