Friday of the Second Week of Lent
(Genesis 37:3-4.12-13a.17b-28a; Matthew 21:33-43.45-46)
When old Catholics come together, they sometimes tell the story of a parish priest who said mass in twelve minutes. He did it in pre-Vatican Council days when no one was following the liturgical Latin. Of course, it was an abuse of the sacrament as were other practices of those days. The demeaning of Protestants, the transfers of priest sexual abusers, and the downplaying of Scripture are but a few of the traits of those times that called for reform. In today’s gospel Jesus points to the need of a similar reform in Judaism.
Jesus is speaking to the elders and chief priests of the people. He knows that they resist his call to a less severe interpretation of the Law. Some of his issues which they reject are healing on the Sabbath and moral judgment based on one’s intention as well as the concrete action. Jesus further realizes that the established religious leaders have made up their minds. He knows that they will do away with him when they have the opportunity. His parable serves as a prophecy for what is soon to take place on Calvary.
We must not be closed to reform. Vatican II expressed this principle as the need for the Church to constantly purify itself. We as members of the Church community must strive for greater understanding of self, greater love for others, and greater sacrifice for God.