Tuesday of the 2nd Week in Ordinary Time January 19, 2021
The Gospel according to Mark (2:23-28)
As Jesus was passing through a field of grain on the sabbath, his disciples began to make a path while picking the heads of grain. At this the Pharisees said to him, “Look, why are they doing what is unlawful on the sabbath?” He said to them, “Have you never read what David did when he was in need and he and his companions were hungry? How he went into the house of God when Abiathar was high priest and ate the bread of offering that only the priests could lawfully eat, and shared it with his companions?” Then he said to them, “The sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath. That is why the Son of Man is lord even of the sabbath.”
Opening Prayer: Loving Jesus, help me to always keep in mind that your love is not about following rules to the exclusion of showing love and mercy to others in my life. Let me be Your instrument today in sharing your love, in whatever way I am called to do so. Amen.
The religious leaders of Jesus’ time, the Pharisees, knew all about the religious law of Judaism. We see throughout the Gospels of how Jesus points out how the Pharisees seem to have their priorities misaligned – they focus on not missing one of the hundreds of laws, not on charity toward their fellow human beings. If we view our faith only in terms of meeting our obligations, we are also a bit off course, and we are depriving ourselves of the grace that God really wants to give to each one of us!
Jesus’ statement that “the Son of Man is lord of the sabbath” turns the priorities of the Pharisees on their head, as what Jesus basically says to them is that it is enough to be His follower and not about if anyone follows or does not follow this rule or that rule. In essence, Jesus says that our faith is about our actions and how they demonstrate God’s love. God loves each of us the same, no matter how good or not so good we may be. If we live out that love, others will see it and will be drawn toward it. That is what we are called to do as followers of Jesus.
A second lesson from today’s Gospel is that we should strive to know more and more about what our faith teaches. None of us ever have complete knowledge of our faith – only God has that level of knowledge! Many folks who have been Catholic their entire lives learned their faith starting when they were very young. Now, that gradual process of learning the faith is very good and effective, but the perspective of a child and the ability to understand the faith at a young age is certainly different from learning about our faith as an adult. The point is that we should never stop learning about the faith.
We can do that by studying the readings that will be proclaimed at mass, reflecting on them and asking God to show us something new in our faith through those inspired words. We can also look for ways to grow more in the faith, perhaps through joining RCIA to refresh our faith, or other opportunities that we may find. If we put a little effort into learning the faith, God will greatly bless that effort and will draw us ever closer to Himself. How can we take even small steps to deepen our faith? One very practical thing that we can all do is to dedicate even just ten minutes to prayer each day. During that time, we can settle our hearts, recognize that God is present, and listen for His voice in our hearts. Maybe we won’t hear God’s actual voice speaking, but we will undoubtedly be changed by the effort we make and God will reward us and help us to be even stronger followers of His Son.
Closing Prayer: Jesus, you love me and all of Your disciples. Help me to go beyond the rules of my faith and live it from my heart, seeking to love all of Your Father’s children, including the “least ones”, who have no one to love them. Let me be a vessel of Your love today and every day. Amen.
Action for the Day: Spend ten minutes in quiet prayer, asking God for how He wants you to show His love to those who are closest to you.