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.”
Very early in Mark’s Gospel, we see the tension rising between Jesus and the religious leaders of His day – the scribes and the Pharisees. Those individuals were all about the many (hundreds!) of rules that people needed to follow in order to be good and observant Jews. That, in itself, is not a bad thing. The place where Jesus conflicts with them is in their focus on the enforcing of the rules, rather than the love from within one’s heart that is the reason for the rules.
It comes down to judging others by what we perceive to be how they may not be abiding by the rules of the faith. Judging is not our job. Our responsibility is to live a life of faith, to love others, and to leave the judgment up to God. It’s a good reminder in my own life. If I focus on whether or not I am living a life of faith and mercy and love, then it doesn’t matter whether someone else is doing it (or if I perceive it to be the case). In the end, I can only impact my own thoughts and motivations, not anyone else’s. If I live a life of example, then maybe others may see it and consider if it’s a good example for them to emulate. Whether they do or not, it’s not up to me.
I think that’s the lesson we can take from the Gospel today about Jesus being the “lord of the sabbath”, and how we are called to honor God in our own way, wherever we are in our walk of faith. If each of us seeks to live a little bit closer to God – praying a little bit more, loving a little bit more, being a little bit more kind – what an impact would we see? May our Lord help us to focus on being the best child of His that we can be, and that we seek to love a little bit more perfectly today than yesterday, and then a little better than that tomorrow.
Action for the Day: Ask God to show you one small act of kindness and love that you can do today, and then go and do it!
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