Tuesday, January 19 ~ Second Week in Ordinary Time
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 (the Lord’s Day)” require of us? Or better yet, what is the primary intention behind this command? 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 and still is a day set apart for the praise and worship of God (for Catholics that means attending Mass), for praising God’s 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 – to “re-create” ourselves in him. 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.
Prayer: Almighty ever-living God, who govern all things, both in heaven and on earth, mercifully hear the pleading of your people and bestow your peace on our times. 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: We Catholics celebrate Sunday as the Lord’s Day, to commemorate God’s work of redemption in Jesus Christ and the new work of creation he accomplished through Christ’s death and resurrection. Taking the “sabbath rest” is a way of expressing honor to God for all that he has done for us. Such “rest” however does not exempt us from our love for our neighbor, nor does it mean that we take a “rest” from attending Mass and hearing the Living Word of God, and receiving the greatest of all gifts – the Eucharist, Christ’s Boy and Blood. This day of rest should be spent with family, and should be a day of rest away from sports practices and workouts, sporting events, and other “extracurricular events” in our schools. In this era of people trying to pack ten pounds into a five-pound bag, each of us needs to ask: has Sunday (the Lord’s Day) lost its meaning in my life? Do I honor the Lord in the way I celebrate Sunday – the Lord’s Day? Or do I treat Sunday as if it is simply another day of the week? If it is the latter, remember the commandment “Remember to keep Holy the Lord’s day” – notice this is not a suggestion, but a commandment given to us by God.