22nd Week in Ordinary Time – St. Gregory the Great
1st Reading: 1Cor 4:6b-15
Brothers and sisters: Learn from myself and Apollos not to go beyond what is written, so that none of you will be inflated with pride in favor of one person over against another. Who confers distinction upon you? What do you possess that you have not received? But if you have received it, why are you boasting as if you did not receive it? You are already satisfied; you have already grown rich; you have become kings without us! Indeed, I wish that you had become kings, so that we also might become kings with you. For as I see it, God has exhibited us Apostles as the last of all, like people sentenced to death, since we have become a spectacle to the world, to angels and men alike. We are fools on Christ’s account, but you are wise in Christ; we are weak, but you are strong; you are held in honor, but we in disrepute. To this very hour we go hungry and thirsty, we are poorly clad and roughly treated, we wander about homeless and we toil, working with our own hands. When ridiculed, we bless; when persecuted, we endure; when slandered, we respond gently. We have become like the world’s rubbish, the scum of all, to this very moment. I am writing you this not to shame you, but to admonish you as my beloved children. Even if you should have countless guides to Christ, yet you do not have many fathers, for I became your father in Christ Jesus through the Gospel.
Gospel: 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.”
LORD OF THE SABBATH: The disciples of Jesus picked the corns by the roadside to quench their hunger. Their action does not seem to have been premeditated but looks more like a natural tendency of a hungry man. When considered through the eyes of humanity, the innocence of their action is evident. But viewed through the crucibles of a rigorous observance of the law, it acquires a new meaning and constitutes an infringement of the law and so, merits punishment. A rigid observance of the law usually runs the risk of forgetting the human person who observes it. Jesus invites us to see the laws through his own eyes and avoid complicating our lives and those of others through an undue insistence on the letters of the law.
Prayer – Lord grant us the grace to view events around us though your own eyes and to assess them with your heart.
JESUS AND SABBATH: “The son of man is the Lord of Sabbath.” Jesus is telling this to the Pharisees and to us, showing that he has authority over the very greatest traditions rooted in the Old Testament. He tries to show them and us that, we observe strictly the law and not its spirit. This distances us from God and His will. The law is there to bring us close to God but not to distance us from Him. The disciples appear to be going against the law of the Sabbath. The teaching however is that, Jesus set the Sabbath for benefit to the human person. Keeping the Sabbath should not be restricted if it is for the suffering of the human person.
INTENTIONS AND LAWS: The Pharisees were busy with laws of Sabbath. Jesus went deeper to see the intentions of the Sabbath day. God gave the Law to Moses, and Jesus declared himself master of the Sabbath. The Pharisees failed to see the meaning of the action of David in Temple eating from the altar. First, they did not read the Word of God with open an mind. Secondly, they did not read the Word of God to search the Will of God but to look at it legalistically. Thirdly, they did not read the Word of God with a heart to see the new meaning in it. Laws are meant to serve human beings and any law that is not based on love is not from God. The human needs go beyond the letter of the laws. God desires wellbeing of his people. Therefore, as followers of Jesus we need to see the spirit of law and act accordingly. Love and human concern are the greatest laws.