Today is Tuesday the 19 January, in the Second Week of Ordinary Time
The monks of the Abbey of Keur Moussa sing: ‘Those who love me will keep my word, and my Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.’ As they sing…. I listen.I listen with my whole attention, with my mind and with my heart, so that I may really hear the word of God, and keep it.
Today’s reading is from the Gospel of Mark.
One sabbath Jesus was going through the cornfields; and as they made their way his disciples began to pluck heads of grain.The Pharisees said to him, "Look, why are they doing what is not lawful on the sabbath?"And he said to them, "Have you never read what David did when he and his companions were hungry and in need of food?He entered the house of God, when Abiathar was high priest, and ate the bread of the Presence, which it is not lawful for any but the priests to eat, and he gave some to his companions."Then he said to them, "The sabbath was made for humankind, and not humankind for the sabbath; so the Son of Man is lord even of the sabbath."
The Pharisees were so eager not to break the rules that they lost sight of the real meaning of the commandments.In this case the will of God, that men and women should rest and enjoy the Sabbath, was not achieved.They failed to understand that the Sabbath was made for humankind, and not humankind for the Sabbath.Is this obsession with rules still a problem for religious people?Is it a problem for me?
The Sabbath was meant to be good news, a break, a release, a liberation – freedom from the burdens of work and time to be attentive to God.Have we lost, do you think, that sense of the Sabbath as good news?Is it good news that I need to hear in my life?
Jesus speaks with authority in this passage.As you hear it again, listen carefully to his words and to what they say to you.
Hearing Jesus’s words again, what was my reaction?I might have become more aware of my own anxiety about “breaking the rules”, or perhaps I got a sense that I need to take a break myself, or perhaps I was struck by the boldness of Jesus’s words. Whatever my reaction is, I can bring it before the Lord now, and speak to him, as I would to a friend, about how his words speak to me.
Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.