The Question about the Sabbath

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Reflection on the Gospel of the Saturday In The Twenty-Second Week In Ordinary Time

Luke 6:1-5

With Creation, Time also was born and blessed. This can be understood in the Seven Days of Creation. God by his actions showed us that we need to work hard (6-days) each day, but we also need time for ourselves so we can revitalise ourselves with our relationship with God (7th day). At the beginning, the idea of Sabbath Rest was not that established and lived… But with the Covenant at Sinai God brought about a nation, who were to imitate him in everything and be like him to others. And with the 10 Commandments, the Sabbath was formally declared holy and important. The Sabbath is not important to God, as much it was important for man to discover Himself in relationship to God. Those who obeyed the commandment flourished, while those who disobeyed, cursed themselves to an incomplete life without God. We can therefore understand the importance of the Sabbath.

The Sabbath also became important during the time of the Babylonian Exile when there was no Temple, and therefore the people made time, i.e the Sabbath wherein they worshiped God… The importance of the Sabbath continues even today amongst the Jews. During Jesus time it was sacred…

In this Gospel passage we see that Jesus’ Disciples were hungry and they plucked the grains in the field and did the work of cleaning the grains by rubbing them between their hands. The day being a Sabbath, the Pharisees who were following them, pointed this to Jesus and condemned the disciples’ actions. As per the pharisaical understanding any work executed on the Sabbath is considered unlawful including, preparing food and grinding on the millstone etc.

Remember the sabbath day and keep it holy”… The Sabbath Day means 

  1. It is a Lord’s day and dedicated to the Lord. 
  2. Set apart oneself from routine work and to remain in God’s presence
  3. Keep ourselves holy and union/connected with Lord
  4. Listen on God’s word and covenant made to Israel in the past.
  5. Offer various sacrifice described in the Jewish book of the law
  6. Do religious ritual as per the law.
  7. Take rest from work physically and mentally

Jesus here helps the Pharisees to understand the real nature of the Sabbath, is to increase physical and mental wellbeing of the individual; therefore the Sabbath in a way serves man. He illustrated this by reminding them of the time David when he was running away from King Saul, he along with his companion approached the High Priest for food, because they were very hungry. The only food Ahimelech the High Priest could offer them was the Bread of God’s Presence in the Tabernacle…, but only if they were ritually and physically clean, they could eat it. So we see that the sentence “The Son of Man is lord of the sabbath,” points to Jesus being the new Temple and new Sabbath, and also means that humanity is more important to God than rituals and traditions, and these are there only to help humanity get into a relationship with God.

Let’s us reflect on our own self

  1. Do we follow the Lord’s day whole heartedly or do we participate in it out of a sense of obligation
  2. Our Lord is waiting for our presence every sabbath day (For Christians now it is Sunday – the Lord’s Day – the Day of the Resurrection), but do we eagerly seek to enter the Lord’s presence.
  3. Our Lord is ready to feed us through the Eucharist, are we ready to accept him?

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