September 7, 2019 – Saturday 22nd Week in Ordinary Time
A reading from the Holy Gospel according to Luke (6:1-5)
While Jesus was going through a field of grain on a sabbath,
his disciples were picking the heads of grain,
rubbing them in their hands, and eating them.
Some Pharisees said,
“Why are you doing what is unlawful on the sabbath?”
Jesus said to them in reply,
“Have you not read what David did
when he and those who were with him were hungry?
How he went into the house of God, took the bread of offering,
which only the priests could lawfully eat,
ate of it, and shared it with his companions?”
Then he said to them, “The Son of Man is lord of the sabbath.”
Some of the Pharisees reacted when they saw that the disciples of Jesus were plucking some grain and eating them. For them, they could not accept that kind of behavior especially when it was done on a Sabbath day. The Pharisees interpreted the law of the Sabbath in a way that a person cannot do anything. They were very strict in observing such law that they themselves formulated.
God’s intention was not to burden the people with the law but to make the Sabbath a restful and life-giving day for all. However, these scholars of the law expanded the law of the Sabbath. This was the reason why they would complain and feel disgusted every time Jesus condoned his disciples or even healed sick people on Sabbath day.
This attitude of the Pharisees became condemning. They were more concerned of following the law rather than to be life-giving to those who were in need.
Consequently, Jesus responded to them to make them realize that the Sabbath was not meant to burden people but to free people. Sabbath is a holy day because it is meant to celebrate the many wonders God has made.
Moreover, Jesus asserts his authority over the Sabbath for he himself is Lord and rules over the Sabbath. This was an invitation for the Pharisees to recognize Jesus as the life-giving Lord to which the Pharisees also failed.
The Lord invites us today that our actions and words will also become life-giving. The Pharisees’ over-emphasis and fixation on observing the law hindered them from recognizing Jesus and thus to be life-giving to others. In that way, their attitude deprived people to experience God’s goodness and generosity. Let not our rigidity, inconsiderate attitudes and indifferent treatment towards people prevent us to become life-giving people.
Indeed, it is when we become generous people that we make our Sabbath, which we now celebrate on Sundays, sacred and life-giving. In this way, God’s presence is truly present in us. Hinaut pa.
Jom Baring, CSsR