Meditation is an ideal way to pray. Using God's word (Lectio Divina) allows me to hear, listen and reflect on what the Lord wants to say to me - to one of his disciples - just like He did two thousand years ago.
The best time to reflect is at the beginning of the day and for at least 15 to 30 minutes.
Prior to going to sleep, read the Mass readings for the next day and then, in the morning, reflect on the Meditation offered on this website.
I hope these daily meditations allow you to know, love and imitate the Lord in a more meaningful way.
God bless you!

Monday, September 9, 2013

Luke 6:6-11 Words And Numbers

Monday of the Twenty-Third Week in Ordinary Time
(Click here for readings)

On a certain Sabbath Jesus went into the synagogue and taught...The scribes and the Pharisees watched him closely to see if he would cure on the Sabbath so that they might discover a reason to accuse him.

Ever feel like you're being watched?  That people are just lying in wait for you, waiting for you to make one "mistake" and blow it out of proportion?  That's how the Lord must have felt.  That's how we all feel when those with a preconceived notion of us attack us virulently.

I know the feeling.  I'm sure you do as well.

Pharisees and mathematicians.  There's more in common with them then meets the eye.  Pharisees judged things according to the law, and the law was written in black on white.  It was black and white.  Math teachers judge answers according to what's on the paper, and the answer is either right or wrong. 

Pharisees made a living off of the printed word.  Mathematicians make a living off of the printed number.  Both professions are extremely limited in their understanding of things.

Mathematicians crunch numbers into formulas and equations.  That's their field of expertise.  And when they attempt to associate a number to something, then chances are they have already gone beyond their field of expertise.  That's why mathematicians do not necessarily make good sociologists, psychologists, politicians, theologians or philosophers.  Outside their abstract world, numbers mean nothing more than a numerical value.  In fact, a number could be the correct number but generated from the wrong formula or equation.

The Pharisees were good at knowing the letter of the law.  They knew it by heart.  But when they tried to associate God's law with flesh and blood, they failed miserably.  In fact, they ended up crucifying God to it!  That's why Pharisees did not necessarily make good theologians, philosophers or psychologists.  Outside the abstract world of paper and pen, laws meant nothing more than just a means of judging people.  In fact, they could be completely right in their findings but completely wrong in their judging. 

Then the Word became flesh.

Jesus Christ is the Word of God made flesh.  The Law no longer is stagnant.  It walks.  It no longer is etched in stone but written in flesh.  The Law has a heartbeat.  It has a personality.  It has taken on life.

Life.    The Word took on life.  The Law embraced life.  The Infinite became finite. 

The Word of God can relate to us.  He is one of us.  

Jesus said to the Pharisees, "I ask you, is it lawful to do good on the Sabbath rather than to do evil, to save life rather than to destroy it?"

Guess what happens to people who live only in the abstract world; who live in the world of letters and numbers?   They lose their mind.  They lose a sense of life.  In fact, their words (and numbers) take on a life of their own and they end up doing more harm than good:  [The Pharisees] became enraged and discussed together what they might do to Jesus."

The problem with mathematicians, as well as with Pharisees, is that no two things (people included) are exactly the same.  And when they treat them as such, then they have lost touch with reality.

The Word became flesh and lived among us.   All things take on (new) meaning when they are associated to Jesus Christ.


  1. I always wondered how Jesus and the disciples were able to maintain their "cool" with those annoying Pharisees always watching their every move. In a way, I think the Pharisees broke the law of the Sabbath, too, by their constant watching and looking...Biblical police!

    I know all too well how horrible it feels to be watched all of the time. My old job was full of coworkers waiting for me to break from stress. They enjoyed seeing me get angry or lose my temper. To them it was a game. They often laughed when I'd get emotionally stressed out. I thank the Lord every day for my current job where everyone is pleasant and nobody feels the need to get in other peoples business. Everyone is here to do a job and not create a bunch of drama. :)

    Yesterday I saw a bumper sticker that read: "World change is how I roll. Nerds for Jesus" This made me think of the mathematician and written law. How fitting if we all could become a little nerdy for Christ by proclaiming his truth in numerical and written ways.



  2. My oldest child was about 3 years old. I had a perfectly clean, organized and simple home. I mistakenly left out the craft box on our dining room table. As I was busy with our 1 year old, my sweet 3 year old thought he would do an act of love for me by decorating my favorite vase I had within his reach. He knew that this was ‘pretty’ and not to be touched. He completely covered this vase with glue and glitter. I came in the room, surprised him, and he had his surprise for me! Because the vase had indentations throughout, it was going to take some time to clean.

    The look on my face apparently disappointed him and he began to cry. In seconds, I knew what was more important to me at that moment. Did he really know that was my favorite vase? Did he know how much it costs? Or was his intention to make me happy? He taught me a valuable lesson that day: actions really don’t’ matter. They really don’t! What matters is the intention behind the actions. It’s about the spirit of the law, not the letter.

    Great thoughts.

  3. Fr. Alfonse,
    How can we assist ourselves when interacting with such an individual?

    Is there anything one can do to assist individuals who have a "Pharisee"/"mathematician" mentality in addition to prayer?

    -Rosa E.

    1. Great question Rosa.

      First, I have to be careful that I don't have this mentality myself. It can come and go. I have to work hard on a daily basis to make sure I don't have this attitude myself.

      Then, I can be honest with others and help them to see what I have seen.

  4. Thank you for your response, Father Alfonse. :)
    -Rosa E.


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