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Homilies :: Latin Rite
Saturday of the 21st Week in Ordinary Time Download This Homily

September 7, 2019

Saturday of the 21st Week in Ordinary Time

 

Col 1: 21-23

Psalm 54:3-4, 6 and 8

Lk 6: 1-5

 

Gospel Reading


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.”

 

Reflection

 

The Laws of Sabbath

  

The confrontation between Jesus and his bitter enemies continues in today’s Gospel passage. The Pharisees follow Jesus as his shadow. It is not to hear and learn from his teachings, but to catch him wrong in his teachings and more over to find fault in his actions. They are finding faults with him and searching for proof so that they can legally take action against him. Here in this passage they get a fine chance.

 

The disciples are hungry and weary. While walking they pluck the heads of grains and eat. Remember the day is a Sabbath. The disciples are violating the Sabbath law. Adding to it, their master Jesus is not scolding them. Naturally the legalistic Pharisee is angry.

 

I remember a joke I recently read, “…in which the four types of government were compared, using two cows. Socialism would have you give one of your cows to your neighbor and keep the other. Communism would insist that you give both cows to the state, and occasionally you might be fortunate enough to get a little milk or butter. Nazism would shoot you and take both of your cows. In a Democracy you would sell one cow and buy a bull.” To this one more category can be added, ie; Legalism. ‘Legalism would lay down so many rules and regulations concerning the keeping of cows that nobody would want them anyway’

 

The legalist in Pharisee asks the question: “Why are you doing what is not lawful to do on the Sabbath?" And precisely to this question Jesus gives the answer. He makes it clear what is “lawful” and what is “not lawful” on the Sabbath. There lies the difference between Jesus and the Pharisee. For a Pharisee the written law and the oral traditions hold equally valid. The law has to be observed literally. To Jesus, Law in itself is meaningless. Law acquires meaning so far as it upholds the human dignity. That is the purpose of law.

 

In this background Jesus completely backs the stance of his disciples. They eat the grains of wheat because they are hungry. For a hungry man the greatest law is his hunger. Human needs acquire the first place in the “law of Jesus”. In his interpretation he places himself above the Sabbath law saying, “Son of Man is the Lord of the Sabbath”. Human needs have precedence over ritual customs in the teaching of Jesus.

 

He is not denying or abolishing the law of Sabbath, rather he reinterprets it for the benefit of man. He expands it so that it can be of benefit to the common man. Any “ism” and ideology that belittles the human dignity is not acceptable to Jesus. He sets aside the laws of Sabbath just as David set aside the laws of sacred bread, and both for a common purpose: “human need.” The divine laws and their interpretations should turn out to be blessings to human beings. They should not become burdens to the already over- burdened common man.

 

Dr Martin Mallathu CMI

 


Homilies Navchetana Apps, the first of its kind is produced and published by Navchetana Communications, Bhopal, India to assist the clergy to preach the World of God and also as a handy spiritual resource for the people of God to reflect on the daily spiritual passages at their convenience. You can download this on your Android phone from Google play and you can see the Gospel reflections of the whole year. The size of this app is just 2.5 MB. We welcome your suggestions and contributions to server you better.

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Homilies Navchetana is an initiative of Navchetana Communications, Bhopal, India. We have been sending the Sunday and daily homilies last four years. We are grateful to you for your cooperation and encouraging comments. Navchetana is committed to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ through modern media and performing arts. Through our Web TV, audio and video productions and stage programmes we take the Gospel message to the ends of the earth. Make a donation and be a part of this noble mission.


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