Unlawful on the Sabbath?


One of the useful conventions of organized civil life is the creation of laws. Without them, perhaps life would be next to impossible, if not outright impossible. But our attitude towards laws at times tends to make them absolute, forgetting that, in the first place, they were created for the good of people, to protect and further human life. This is the issue in our Gospel reading today. What the religious leaders see or only want to see is the violation of the Sabbath, without due consideration to the circumstances of Jesus and his disciples. And so Jesus, using events in their history, reminds them of the proper hierarchy of values and the proper role of laws. Laws cannot cover all possible circumstances and contexts of human beings; hence, they should leave room for considering whether a “violation” violated human life or, ironically, saved it, rather than simply canonizing or “dogmatizing” laws for their own sake — which is meaningless. Do you have a tendency to be overly legalistic? Remember Jesus’ words: “The sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath” (Mk 2:27).


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.”

SOURCE: “365 Days with the Lord 2021,” ST. PAULS, 7708 St. Paul Rd., SAV, Makati City (Phils.); Tel.: 632-895-9701; Fax 632-895-7328; E-mail: publishing@stpauls.ph; Website: http://www.stpauls.ph.