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Debates about the sabbath

Gospel Reading: 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.”

REFLECTION Lord of the Sabbath
There are two main reasons for the observance of the Shabath or day of rest. The first is to imitate the Lord God who rested on the seventh day from his work of creation. The second is to allow people – especially the slaves – a day of repose from their heavy burden. Since the Israelites were once slaves in Egypt, they knew the burden of slavery. Now as free people, they are free to rest… and allow the heavily burdened also to rest.

To safeguard the commandment of the Sabbath rest, the rabbis listed 39 kinds of work as transgressing the observance of the holy day. The Pharisees equate picking heads of grain with reaping, one of the works prohibited on the Sabbath. Jesus’ disciples who do this are therefore doing something unlawful.

Jesus defends his disciples’ conduct by saying that even an institution like the Sabbath rest must yield to other considerations, among which is the satisfaction of human need. Just as the hungry David and his men were exempted from the regulations of the “holy bread,” so the disciples are permitted to ease their hunger even on a Sabbath. But the ultimate justification is that Jesus, the Son of Man, has supreme authority over the Law that mandates the Sabbath.
How does your family keep holy the Lord’s Day – Sunday?

Are you sufficiently rested to face another week?

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SOURCE: “365 Days with the Lord,” ST PAULS, 7708 St. Paul Rd., SAV, Makati City (Phils.); Tel.: 895-9701; Fax 895-7328; E-mail: publishing@stpauls.ph; Website: http://www.stpauls.ph.

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