In the Gospel today, the scribes and Pharisees carefully watched Jesus to see if he would cure on the Sabbath. For them, the strict observance of the letter of the Law is more important than the spirit of the Law. This is why they could not accept the teaching of Jesus because the scribes and Pharisees see their faith from a legal perspective. When we see our relationship with God from a legal perspective, then we will treat the Word of God as a legal contract, rather than a covenant of love.
As in almost all legal contracts, the goal is to keep to the letter of the law and find ways of going around restrictions to achieve what we want. How can I know if my relationship with God is based on a legal contract and not from a loving relationship? When I ask: how far can I go before it becomes a sin. This question reveals a lot about my relationship. It already implies I am looking some loophole to get away with what I want to do without being punished for it.
When we see our relationship with God as a legal contract, then we will always find excuses for not fulfilling the commandments. This is probably why the Corinthian community got into such a mess that a man was living with his father’s wife. The leaders were probably coming up with arguments to justify this relationship. This is probably why St Paul speaks of human wisdom as compared to the foolishness of God. St Paul tells them: a little yeast leavens the whole batch of dough.
One little question justifies a small sin until it leads to another little question then another. I cannot remember who said this, but I remember reading it from a writing of a saint (probably St Teresa of Avila) who said repeated venial sins are more dangerous than a mortal sin. The reason, I think, is because with venial sins, we think we are not doing something bad and we always justify it. Then we get numb and get used to this little sin. It then grows and becomes a habit so we do it without even thinking about it. The little sin grows and corrupts our soul. So we fall into a ditch we cannot get out of.
Lord, reveal to me the yeast that corrupts my soul. Show me what weakens my relationship with you. purify my heart so that what I want is to love you and serve you alone. Show me what repeated venial sins I have to I may repent of it. Purge my heart Lord, spread your protection over me so that I may exult you.