July 21

Mt 12:14-21

The Pharisees went out and conspired against Jesus, how to destroy him. When Jesus became aware of this, he departed. Many crowds followed him, and he cured all of them, and he ordered them not to make him known. This was to fulfil what had been spoken through the prophet Isaiah:
‘Here is my servant, whom I have chosen,
   my beloved, with whom my soul is well pleased.
I will put my Spirit upon him,
   and he will proclaim justice to the Gentiles.
He will not wrangle or cry aloud,
   nor will anyone hear his voice in the streets.
He will not break a bruised reed
   or quench a smouldering wick
until he brings justice to victory.
   And in his name the Gentiles will hope.’

Yesterday’s discussion about law continues today.  St John Chrysostom (349 AD – 407) said, “It is not as an adversary that Christ transcends the law, as if he were an enemy of the Lawgiver, but as though he were of one mind with the Lawgiver and held to the very same purposes.”

The meaning of this condensed sentence of Chrysostom’s is delightfully illustrated by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s Little Prince

The Little Prince finds himself on a planet where there is nothing at all, except a king seated on his throne.  He was a very imperious one, “for what he fundamentally insisted upon was that his authority should be respected. He tolerated no disobedience. He was an absolute monarch. But, because he was a very good man, he made his orders reasonable.
‘If I ordered a general,’ he would say, by way of example, ‘if I ordered a general to change himself into a sea bird, and if the general did not obey me, that would not be the fault of the general. It would be my fault....’
‘Sire,’ said the little prince, ‘over what do you rule?’
‘Over everything," said the king, with magnificent simplicity.
‘Over everything?’  The king made a gesture, which took in his planet, the other planets, and all the stars.... For his rule was not only absolute: it was also universal.
‘And the stars obey you?’
‘Certainly they do,’ the king said. ‘They obey instantly. I do not permit insubordination....’
‘I should like to see a sunset…. Do me that kindness…. Order the sun to set.’
‘One must require from each one the duty which each one can perform,’ the king went on. ‘Accepted authority rests first of all on reason.... I have the right to require obedience because my orders are reasonable."
‘Then my sunset?’ the little prince reminded him: for he never forgot a question once he had asked it.
‘You shall have your sunset. I shall command it. But, according to my science of government, I shall wait until conditions are favourable.’
‘When will that be?’ inquired the little prince.
‘Hum! Hum!’ replied the king; and before saying anything else he consulted a bulky almanac. ‘Hum! Hum! That will be about – about – that will be this evening about twenty minutes to eight.  And you will see how well I am obeyed!’”


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This page gives a very brief commentary by Donagh O’Shea on the gospel reading for each day of the month. 


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