Saturday, September 06, 2014
22nd Week in Ordinary Time
1st Reading: 1 Cor 4:6-15
Gospel: Luke 6:1-5
One Sabbath, Jesus was going through the corn fields and his disciples began to pick heads of grain crushing them in their hands for food. Some of the Pharisees asked them, “Why do you do what is forbidden on the Sabbath?” Then Jesus spoke, “Have you never read what David did when he and his men were hungry?” He entered the house of God, took and ate the bread of the offering and even gave some to his men, though only priests are allowed to eat that bread.” And Jesus added, “The Son of Man is Lord and rules over the Sabbath.”
(Daily Gospel in the Assimilated Life Experience)
God is love. As love personified, he cannot bear seeing his people enslaved by anything, not even by the Law. In the time of Jesus there were strict laws implementing the commandment to honor the Day of the Lord. They were so strict in implementing the Sabbath Law that people no longer looked forward to the Sabbath as a day of rejoicing but of fear and trembling. This distorted the essence of the Sabbath rest. The Law declaring the Sabbath Day holy was meant to afford the people time for relaxation and rejoicing in the Lord and ample time to praise and worship Him. But then it turned out to be a heavy yoke oppressing the people.
Today’s Gospel gives us a sample of how oppressive the Sabbath Law was. The disciples were only plucking grains from the fields as they walked along. But they were already accused of harvesting, winnowing, and grinding. They made a mountain out of a mole hill. Jesus corrected them because the law is never meant to oppress but to facilitate communitarian life. When the Law becomes oppressive it ceases to be a law because the essence of the Law is to facilitate community life. It may involve personal sacrifices from individuals but the net effect should be harmony in the community.
We are not sons and daughters of the Law but of freedom and love. Jesus, in fact, put all the commandments under the umbrella of love when he declared that the greatest of all the commandments is love. This great commandment stands on two legs, namely love of God and love of neighbor. As sons and daughters of love and not of the Law we are supposed to be identified by our loving attitude towards one another. “They know we are Christians by our love.”
We are heirs of the Commandment of Love. Thank God we don’t have to labor under the old Sabbath Law. In freedom we can love. In the language of St. Augustine we can do whatever we please for as long as we love God. We have no problem loving God because God is not difficult to love, for God is good and faithful all the time. Our Achilles heel as Christians is really in the area of loving the neighbor. Let us ask God for the eyes to see him in our fellowmen so that the ease with which we love God can be projected in the way we take care of one another. – Rev. Fr. Dan Domingo P. delos Angeles, Jr., DM. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Website: www.frdan.org.
Prayer for the day: God our Father, deepen our faith in you so that we may live our freedom responsibly through Christ our Lord. Amen.
SAINT OF THE DAY: Bertrand of Garrigues, Priest. In the latter part of the 12th Century, Bertrand was born at Garrigues in France. The Cistercian nuns handled his education. When he became a priest, he joined a Cistercian group to mitigate the evil effects of the heretics in Midi. Subsequently, he met St. Dominic who used prayer, fasting and preaching to combat the heresy. Bertrand became one of St. Dominic’s close companions being one of the six preachers who formed the nucleus for the Order of Preachers in 1215. In one of the eight provinces of the Dominican Order, he was made the Prior Provincial of Provence. He founded the great Priory of Marseilles during the last nine years of his active life while preaching the Faith in Southern France. He passed away being remembered in the image of St. Dominic, his master.