Mercy is both canceling the punishment due for an offence and lifting up someone who is down.
Matthew 12: 1 – 8.
Today’s gospel speaks to the difference between lawful and humane. It was unlawful for the disciples to pick ears of corn and eat when they did because it was the Sabbath. No one must work on the Sabbath. The act of picking was work. However, they were hungry. Their hunger changed the conditions under which they could pick and eat. Hunger can be satisfied, even on the Sabbath.
Satisfying their hunger on the Sabbath, in the way they did it was unlawful but it was humane. A humane act is an act of mercy. God is always merciful to everyone, especially to the most vulnerable, in this case, the hungry disciples.
Every Sabbath is a celebration of God’s mercy. Everyone who went to the Temple on the Sabbath, did so in the hope that God would overlook every unlawful act and grant mercy. Mercy is both canceling the punishment due for an offence and lifting up someone who is down.