12th Week in Ord. Time, Tuesday – 23rd June 2020 — Gospel: Mt 7,6.12-14
Need for discernment
Jesus warns his disciples to never think of doing this activity: to give what is valuable and sacred to dogs and swine. This is a caution against the critics like Pharisees or unbelievers. Why does Jesus compare what is holy with pearls, and dogs with swine? It is not difficult to figure out what does holy and pearls signify. That which is holy pertains to spiritual things. Pearls were very valuable in the ancient world. In the same way, the priceless and sacred teachings of Jesus must be considered as a great value and must be treated with discernment. In Jesus’ day dogs were not pets. The Jews hated pigs. Both dogs and pigs were considered unclean and were scavengers. If you came between them and their food, you will get trampled. In using this metaphor, Jesus gives a balance to his previous teaching on self-awareness and self-correction for judging others (7,5). The feedback or correction (holy, pearls) can be rejected and trampled underfoot (dogs, swine). Counter-attacks can result. Therefore, correction is not to be pressed when it is not received. In another sense, Jesus exhorts His disciples to have discernment to proclaim God’s Holy Word, since malicious people will seek to bring harm and destruction to God’s Word and Reign. They are stubborn in their rebellion and unbelief. It is to be noted that Jesus did not always give all His teachings to everyone. He spoke in parables to reveal the truth to those who had ears to hear, and to conceal it from the self-righteous.