SABBATH OBSERVANCE

Saturday, 22nd Week in Ordinary Time  

            In today’s gospel passage that Luke borrows largely from Mark (2:23-28), the issue revolves around the observance of the Sabbath. Although this observance stems from God’s will in Genesis 2:3, nonetheless, it must cede to other considerations – in this case human hunger. Jesus defends the disciples’ plucking the ears of grain and rubbing them in their hands by citing the action of David in Samuel 21:7. Since the priest in the sanctuary made an exception for David and his men to eat the bread of offering, then the Sabbath observance also permits exceptions. Jesus’ statement that he is “the lord of the sabbath” not only defends the disciples’ action but also implies that he is greater than David.

            Jesus sees the Sabbath as celebration of our liberation from sin and of our new relationship with the Father. Joseph Krempa comments that the Lord refuses to turn it into a burden that will cage people into a new slavery. This attitude of Jesus sets the tone for our spirituality. It remains normative for us.

            God is not served by our adherence to the rules, regulations and rituals for their own sake. The purpose of these rules, regulations and rituals is more important than the keeping of the letter of the laws. A person may keep all the laws and yet be wicked. What the Lord requires is not sacrifice but mercy. Obedience keeps the law, but love knows when to break it. (Anthony De Mello)

            The prayer book Sacred Space – 2016 gives us these points for reflection: Is Sunday a day of rest for me? Sunday can be a gift, a privileged moment to find inner calm. It is a time to shed the stress of work and let cares fall away. It is time to walk leisurely with God in his world of nature. It is time to recapture reverence for the holy world gifted to us. It is time for speaking the names of each member of the family with love and gratitude. Is Sunday my day for meeting the Lord of the Sabbath? Is it the day of resurrection, when I celebrate the joy that the Lord Jesus is with me forever? Let us honestly examine ourselves…

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