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Daily Devotional for January 14

January 14                                                    Mark 2:23-3:6

There was a Jewish law that forbade any work to be done on
the Sabbath so that one's labors could be set aside in order
to pray and give praise to Yahweh. But your disciples picked
wheat on the Sabbath, and you healed the paralyzed hand of
a man on the Sabbath - two violations of the law which the
Pharisees minutely observed.

Your response to your accusers did not show a blatant
disregard for law, but a healthy and holy disposition toward
it. The Sabbath (i.e., the law) was created for the good of
people, not vice-versa. If the literal following of a law does
not draw people closer to God or does not serve humanity,
then the law simply does not apply. Jesus, give me a balanced
respect for law which does not disdain civil or church law
but which recognizes the times when the good of persons must
supersede a slavish adherence to rules and regulations.

I pray today that those laws which do not serve people's needs
and respect their dignity will be abolished. I bring to you the
laws of apartheid in South Africa that demean the Blacks of
that nation. I bring to you immigration laws in the U .S. which
discriminate against the poor, who seek a better life for
themselves. I bring to you church laws which prohibit women
from being ordained to the priesthood or which bar homo-
sexual persons from having their committed relationships
blessed. As you were angry and grieved at the Pharisees'
hardness of heart, so I am angry and grieved today at the
stubbornness and ignorance of those who are closed to a
broader vision of the law.

Yet, I am also at times like those Pharisees in my day-to-day
life. I seem to make my own laws for others to follow. Jesus,
please change my compulsive desire to control other people's
actions and lives. I pray for a conversion of heart that I may
grant others the freedom I so desire for myself.

Today, help me to respect other people's choices. Amen.

From The Road to Emmaus - An inclusive devotional Edited by Joseph W. Houle

Emmaus House of Prayer - Washington D.C

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