From the gospel that we have just listened to, Our Lord challenges the Scribes and the Pharisees about how they went about practicing their religion. He employs a powerful comparative metaphor to drive home His point. He tells them that they are the kind that spends so much time, so much careful attention, to strain tiny, almost invisible, flies out of their drinks, but on the other hand, they swallow the dirtiest and biggest camels one could ever find. How can you compare a tiny little fly in your drink to a big and dirty camel?
Of course, Our Lord in using these images to address the attention the Pharisees and Scribes gave to the tiny and peripheral details of the religious law yet paid limited attention to the more important principles of authentic religion such as love, compassion, justice, and humility. They ignored these issues and paid more attention to elements such as whether one washed his hands correctlybefore meals or not.
The biggest concern of our Lord in the gospel today is the loss of a sense of proportion. It is the concern about the loss of a sense of hierarchy. A lot of things are important, but some things are more important than others. A lot of things are serious in life and in matters spiritual, but some things are more serious than others. We need to know the hierarchy of importance and keep everything in its rightful place. An absence of a sense of proportion or hierarchy can confuse us and waste a lot of our energy.
A number of times, I inadvertently ended up presiding over mass while vested in the wrong color of vestments for the day. I have seen people who were unsettled throughout the whole mass because of the wrong color of vestments. It was the first thing they addressed right after mass. While the color of the vestments is important and has its rightful place, the word of God proclaimed and bread broken that day, and Christ who was present to us through His body and blood that day, were more important and more deserving of our undivided attention compared to the color of the vestments.
In this Mass, may we ask God for the grace each one of us needs to recover this sense of proportion. May we ask Him to help us to recover this sense of hierarchy, especially in matters spiritual.
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