FR. MIKE’S HOMILY FOR SATURDAY OF 22ND WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME CYCLE I (1)

FR. MIKE’S HOMILY FOR SATURDAY OF 22ND WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME CYCLE Ilicious and judgmental attitude of the Pharisees.







FR. MIKE’S HOMILY FOR SATURDAY OF 22ND WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME CYCLE I

THEME: LORD OF THE SABBATH

BY: Fr. Mike Lagrimas
St. Michael the Archangel Parish
Diocese of Novaliches

 

HOMILY: Lk 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.”

After confronting Jesus on the issue of fasting, the scribes and Pharisees bring up another issue, and this time it is about the Sabbath. They saw His disciples plucking grains while walking in the field. This action is called ‘gleaning’, that is, picking grains left over by the harvesters. This is not actually forbidden by the Law of Moses. But for the narrow-minded scribes and Pharisees who interpret the Law in a legalistic and superficial manner, this action is already considered as harvesting, which the Law strictly forbids.

Jesus answers them very quickly and directly, using an incident in the bible that no one can refute. At one time, David and his men were hungry. So, they went into the house of God and they ate the holy bread which only the priests were allowed to eat. In fact, it was the priest in the Temple who gave them this bread. (cf. 1 Sam 21:4-7).

In effect, Jesus is saying that if David did not violate the Law even when he and his men did something prohibited, nothing can prevent Him from doing something forbidden on a Sabbath, for He, “the Son of Man is lord of the Sabbath.” Jesus has the authority to overrule man-made laws concerning the Sabbath, particularly those being imposed and interpreted by the Pharisees. This does not mean, of course, that Jesus is being arrogant or is abusing His authority. He is just following the true intent and spirit of the Law.

With this, Jesus is saying that the Law, even the Sabbath, is not absolute, and hence, cannot be implemented and interpreted strictly at the expense of the welfare and dignity of man. That is why He insists on following, not necessarily the letter, but the spirit behind the Law. And that spirit is love and mercy: “Go and learn the meaning of the words, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice’” (Mt 9:16).

That is the first lesson of the Gospel today. Let us avoid the legalism and narrow-mindedness, the malicious and judgmental attitude of the Pharisees. Rather, we strive to follow the Law, motivated by our love of God and our compassion and mercy towards others, especially the poor.

The second point is on the proper understanding of the Sabbath. The Jews strictly follow the Sabbath Law in the Old Testament. It is a day of rest and prayer to remember that God, after His work of creation, rested on the seventh day. However, for us Christians, the Day of the Lord for us is not the seventh day, but the first day of the week, Sunday. It is the day when the Lord Jesus resurrected. Every Sunday, then, is a little Easter for us. And it is also on the first day of the week that the Holy Spirit descended upon the Apostles on Pentecost.

It is not a day of rest and recreation nor is it a family day. It is the Day of the Lord. It is a holy day, for it belongs to the Lord. That is why we take some time off from our worldly activities and concerns so that we can have focus on the Lord who tenderly invites us: “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest” (Mt 11:28). So, instead of looking at Sunday as an obligation, we look at it as an opportunity to be with the Lord, and be recharged and refreshed in body and spirit to fulfill our duties and obligations for the rest of the week.

May we always make Sunday truly pleasing to the Lord, and spiritually enriching to us in our quest for holiness and happiness.

Fr. Mike Lagrimas
St. Michael the Archangel Parish
Diocese of Novaliches

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