Today's Gospel: Mark 3:1-6 - Memorial of St. Anthony, Abbot Our society has many laws. One of the simplest is our use of red and green traffic lights. We must stop on red and go on green. If we do not follow the law, we pay a penalty. But the simple stopping and going is not the reason for the law. The deeper reason, or spirit, behind the law is to keep order so that loss of life can be avoided. In this gospel, Jesus takes a stand on man-made laws when they come into play with the laws of God. Jesus teaches that it’s possible to focus on the letter of the law in a way that excludes the spirit. This was the perverse approach for which our Lord rebuked the Pharisees. But Jesus’s rebuke referred to the old ceremonial laws that had passed away, not to the written law of God that gives us a knowledge of sin: His Ten Commandments. It is easy for some to use the excuse of “spirit of the law” to disobey any one of the Ten Commandments—God’s ultimate laws—by saying, “I hold to the spirit of the law, not the letter of the law.” Of course, when we do this, we are second-guessing an all-knowing and perfect God. Often, our actions have nothing to do with the spirit of the law; we want only to get around the letter of the law. But we cannot get around the commandments in this way. Our actions are always are based on our motives. And our motives are always known by God.


Do I make excuses for not obeying God’s laws?


Lord, help me to trust You and Your commandments.
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