HOMILY FOR SATURDAY OF THE 22ND WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME CYCLE II (2)







HOMILY FOR SATURDAY OF THE 22ND WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME CYCLE II

THEME: SOMETHING MORE THAN THE SABBATH LAW

BY: Fr. Karabari Paul

HOMILY FOR SATURDAY SEPTEMBER 3 2022

 

And he said to them, ‘The Son of man is the Lord of the Sabbath.’

The commandment to remember the Sabbath day, first given in Exodus 20:8-11, is grounded in the creation story in Genesis, where God rested on the seventh day and blessed it (2:2-3). Simply put, God’s people are to rest on this day because God did. In Deuteronomy, the Sabbath commandment is also tied to the experience of a people released from slavery in Egypt (5:12-15). Pharaoh’s relentless demands were that the Hebrew slaves keep making more and more bricks, under harsher and harsher conditions. Slaves cannot take a day off; free people can. Thus, when they cease working every seventh day, God’s people remember that the Lord delivered them from slavery.

Of course, the teachers of the law debated about what exactly constituted “work,” and what could and could not be done on the Sabbath. This debate continued in Jesus’ day and beyond. That the Pharisees debate with Jesus about what it means to keep the Sabbath shows that they take him seriously as an interpreter of the law.

In the Gospel today (Luke 6:1-5), When the Pharisees see Jesus’ disciples plucking heads of grain on the Sabbath — an action generally agreed to constitute “work” — they ask, “Why are you doing what is not lawful on the Sabbath?” Jesus responds by citing a scriptural precedent — the story of David’s visit to the priest Ahimelech at Nob. “Have you not read what David did when he and his companions were hungry? He entered the house of God and took and ate the bread of the Presence, which it is not lawful for any but the priests to eat, and gave some to his companions?”

In 1 Samuel 21:1-7, David does not simply “take” the bread; he asks Ahimelech for some bread, and Ahimelech offers him the bread of the Presence because there is no ordinary bread available. Feeding those who are hungry, in this case, takes precedence over strict adherence to the law.

Jesus applies the same logic to plucking grain on the Sabbath. Quite simply, his disciples were hungry and needed something to eat. In Mark’s version, Jesus says, “The Sabbath was made for humankind, and not humankind for the Sabbath; so the Son of Man is lord even of the Sabbath” (Mark 2:27-28). Luke includes only the latter part, “the Son of Man is lord of the Sabbath,” but the logic is the same. The Sabbath is meant to be life giving, not a slave master irresponsive to human needs. The law of love must come before any other law no matter how sacred it may be. And every law must be established on love. Otherwise, it enslaves man. GOD IS STILL ON THE THRONE. May God have mercy on us, heal our world, bless and protect us all through Christ Our Lord Amen. Good morning.

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