Tuesday, January 20 ~ Second Week in Ordinary Time
Saint Sebastian, Martyr
Holy Gospel: Mark 2:23-28 As Jesus was passing through a field of grain on the Sabbath, his disciples began to make a path while picking the heads of grain. At this the Pharisees said to him, “Look, why are they doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath?” He said to them, “Have you never read what David did when he was in need and he and his companions were hungry? How he went into the house of God when Abiathar was high priest and ate the bread of offering that only the priests could lawfully eat, and shared it with his companions?” Then he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. That is why the Son of Man is lord even of the Sabbath.”
Meditation: What does the commandment “keep holy the Sabbath” require us to do? The religious leaders confronted Jesus on this issue. The “Sabbath rest” was meant to be a time to remember and celebrate God’s goodness and the goodness of his work, both in creation and redemption. It was a day set apart for the praise of God, his work of creation, and his saving actions on our behalf. It was intended to bring everyday work to a halt and to provide needed rest and refreshment. Jesus’ disciples are scolded by the scribes and Pharisees, not for plucking and eating corn from the fields, but for doing so on the Sabbath. In defending his disciples, Jesus argues from the scriptures that human need has precedence over ritual custom.
Prayer: Grant us, we pray, O Lord, a spirit of fortitude, so that, taught by the glorious example of your Martyr Saint Sebastian, we may learn to obey you rather than men. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Contemplation: So how do you spend the Sabbath? (Sunday for we Christians.) There was a time when families and individuals spent Sunday attending Mass, relaxing in one way or another, having “Sunday Dinner” with family, visiting grandma. The Sabbath – the “Lord’s Day” should always be a day of praise and worship to God through the Mass; it should also be a day rest for us, giving us time to “re-create” ourselves for the coming week. In our hurried world, take some time to contemplate how you spend your Sundays. Carve out time on this day to give praise and worship to God the Father and receive the Eucharist during Mass, then carve out some time for yourself and your family.