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Human Need

“Physical acts of prayer, prostration, fasting, vigil, worship, and even charity alone without a sincere spirit are useless…What counts is the “circumcision of the heart” as the prophet Jeremiah declared” (Jeremiah 4:4).  To this Word of the prophet, Paul adds, “…and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter” (Romans 2:29).” (Fr. Basil)

“We know that the scribes and Pharisees were highly respected in the first century for the impeccable manner in which they maintained tradition. However, the Lord reveals that their hearts were devoid of love toward God and men – they manipulated only the externals of piety and devotion. Any excessive focus on form alone will disrupt our communion with God and our ability to love others as Christ commands….we should listen closely to Christ’s indictment of those who neglect the state of their heart and instead exploit the minutiae of tradition. Clearly, God wants us to uphold His commandments (Jn 14:15). His chief desire, however, is that we do so with hearts filled with love for Him and for others, as He commands: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind” (Mt 22:37).” (Dynamis 7/22/2020)

“The Pharisees placed their laws above human need...God is a God of people, not rules…Human need is more important than human regulations and rules…Charity and human need outrank ceremonial obedience.” (Life Application Study Bible, Matthew 12:10-12, Luke 6:3-5, Dynamis 10/17/2014)

“The Claim of Human Need - Christ makes three arguments against the Scribes and Pharisees when in the fields. 1. He quoted David (1 Samuel 21: 1-6) when he brought his men into the tabernacle to eat the sacred loaves. 2. He quoted the Sabbath work, that on the Sabbath day the priest had to work extra hard for all the rituals, when the law clearly states no work ought to be done on the Sabbath. 3. He quoted Hosea the Prophet (Hosea 6:6) that God desires steadfast love and not sacrifice. Our fellow brother and sister is to be treated with the love that we have for ourselves (Mark 12:31)…In Matthew 12:9-14 we see a crucial moment in the life of Jesus. He deliberately and publicly broke the Sabbath Law. This caused the Jewish leaders to meet and begin to search out a way to eliminate Him. Jesus knew what He was doing when He healed the paralyzed man. He knew that He would be sought out to be eliminated. Yet He healed the man! His love for His creation, man, far surpassed His love for the law.” (Fr. John Codis)

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone (Matthew 23:34.)…These practices can be expressions of deep faith, lead a person to deeper commitment to God, and safeguard our life in Christ, or they can be observed without ever taking them to heart and lead to condemnation.” (Orthodox Study Bible, Matthew 23:23-33)


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