One sabbath while Jesus was going through the grainfields, his disciples plucked some heads of grain, rubbed them in their hands, and ate them.But some of the Pharisees said, “Why are you doing what is not lawful on the sabbath?”
Jesus answered, “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?” Then he said to them, “The Son of Man is lord of the sabbath.”
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
The Pharisees in today’s Gospel likely interpreted Jesus’ actions and response to their question as refusing to honor the sabbath. This meant he wasn’t simply disobeying one of the 613 Mosaic laws, he was breaking one of the Ten Commandments. But Jesus, as “lord of the sabbath” isn’t attempting to abolish that law, rather he offers the Pharisees and his disciples the opportunity to think about how they can best follow the commandment in their own lives.
It is clear that a one size fits all approach to sabbath law doesn’t work. For example, some people eschew doing any paid work on Sunday while others have work schedules that don’t allow this. When we go back to the original commandment, and the way that Jesus treated the sabbath, it is clear that we are asked to find ways to pause, reflect, and spend some time with God.
How will you “do sabbath” this week?
—The Jesuit Prayer team
Lord Jesus, you modeled for us what it means to “do sabbath” and set aside time for our relationship with you. Help us to open ourselves to your movements in our lives so that we may co-labor with you throughout our lives. Amen.
—The Jesuit Prayer teamPlease share the Good Word with your friends!