January 17th, 2023

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.”


Today’s Gospel story continues the beginning of the conflict between Jesus and the Pharisees.  Mark wastes no time in building up this conflict in which you have, on the one hand, the hypercritical Pharisees, enforcing the letter of the Law, without considering the love of God meant by the Law, and on the other, we have Jesus, who is bringing a new way, one focused on the love of God, but not on the legalistic way of the Pharisees.

Now, we who follow the Catholic faith know that there are a lot of rules in our practice.  Coming up in a little more than a month, we enter the season of Lent, that season of repentance and renewal, and yes, a season of some particular rules.  Now, if I scrupulously follow the directives around fasting and abstaining, but am still the same cranky, unkind, and unloving person I was before, then I am like one of the Pharisees.  In God’s eyes, it’s not a scorecard where He is keeping track of how many days we prayed, or how many times we were seen as good, devout Catholics.  No.  If there’s a scorecard, it is to catch us doing good, and sharing His love and peace with everyone.

That’s why we follow the “Son of Man” who is “lord” of the Sabbath, and everyday of our lives.  May we walk through these days of Ordinary Time not to follow the rules and guidelines of our faith to avoid punishment, or to satisfy some obligation, but to do those actions as examples of the love that God has placed in our hearts.  Let us shine the light, and know that God will bless all the good we do, and let us do our best to do as He does and see the good in others.. always.

Action for the Day:

Today, pay particular attention for someone doing something kind and loving to another, and if you can, tell that person that you saw it and were blessed by it!

If you would like to hear this reflection, click the link below! 

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