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Contemplating today's Gospel

Today's Gospel + homily (in 300 words)

Tuesday 2nd in Ordinary Time

1st Reading (1Sam 16:1-13): The Lord said to Samuel: «How long will you grieve for Saul, whom I have rejected as king of Israel? Fill your horn with oil, and be on your way. I am sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem, for I have chosen my king from among his sons». But Samuel replied: «How can I go? Saul will hear of it and kill me». To this the Lord answered: «Take a heifer along and say, ‘I have come to sacrifice to the Lord’. Invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I myself will tell you what to do; you are to anoint for me the one I point out to you».

Samuel did as the Lord had commanded him. When he entered Bethlehem, the elders of the city came trembling to meet him and inquired, «Is your visit peaceful, o seer?». He replied: «Yes! I have come to sacrifice to the Lord. So cleanse yourselves and join me today for the banquet». He also had Jesse and his sons cleanse themselves and invited them to the sacrifice. As they came, he looked at Eliab and thought, «Surely the Lord’s anointed is here before him». But the Lord said to Samuel: «Do not judge from his appearance or from his lofty stature, because I have rejected him. Not as man sees does God see, because he sees the appearance but the Lord looks into the heart». Then Jesse called Abinadab and presented him before Samuel, who said, «The Lord has not chosen him». Next Jesse presented Shammah, but Samuel said, «The Lord has not chosen this one either». In the same way Jesse presented seven sons before Samuel, but Samuel said to Jesse, «The Lord has not chosen any one of these».

Then Samuel asked Jesse, «Are these all the sons you have?». Jesse replied, «There is still the youngest, who is tending the sheep». Samuel said to Jesse, «Send for him; we will not begin the sacrificial banquet until he arrives here». Jesse sent and had the young man brought to them. He was ruddy, a youth handsome to behold and making a splendid appearance. The Lord said, «There anoint him, for this is he!». Then Samuel, with the horn of oil in hand, anointed him in the midst of his brothers; and from that day on, the Spirit of the Lord rushed upon David. When Samuel took his leave, he went to Ramah.
Responsorial Psalm: 88
R/. I have found David, my servant.
Once you spoke in a vision, and to your faithful ones you said: «On a champion I have placed a crown; over the people I have set a youth».

«I have found David, my servant; with my holy oil I have anointed him, that my hand may be always with him, and that my arm may make him strong».

«He shall say of me, ‘You are my father, my God, the Rock, my savior’. And I will make him the first-born, highest of the kings of the earth».
Versicle before the Gospel (Cf. Eph 1:17-18): Alleluia. May the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ enlighten the eyes of our hearts, that we may know what is the hope that belongs to our call. Alleluia.
Gospel text (Mk 2,23-28): One sabbath Jesus was walking through grainfields. As his disciples walked along with him, they began to pick the heads of grain and crush them in their hands. Then the Pharisees said to Jesus, «Look! they are doing what is forbidden on the sabbath!». And He said to them, «Have you never read what David did in his time of need, when he and his men were very hungry? He went into the house of God when Abiathar was High Priest and ate the bread of offering, which only the priests are allowed to eat, and he also gave some to the men who were with him». Then Jesus said to them, «The sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath. So the Son of Man is master even of the sabbath».

«The sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath»

Fr. Ignasi FABREGAT i Torrents (Terrassa, Barcelona, Spain)

Today, as yesterday, Jesus has to contend with the Pharisees, who are distorting Moses' Law, by highlighting the letter of the law while ignoring the actual spirit of the Law. The Pharisees accuse, indeed, Jesus' disciples of violating the Sabbath (cf. Mk 2:24). According to their overwhelming casuistry, to pick the heads of grain means “to reap”, while crushing them in their hands signifies “to thresh”: these agricultural tasks —and some forty other— were forbidden on the Sabbath, as a day of rest. As we already know, the breads of offering the Gospel speaks of, were twelve breads that were placed every week in the sanctuary table, as a tribute from the twelve tribes of Israel to their God and Lord.

Abiathar's attitude is the same one Jesus is teaching us today: the less important precepts of the Law have to give way before the most important ones; a ceremonial precept has to give way to a precept of the natural law; the precept of resting on the Sabbath should not, therefore, prevail over the basic needs of subsistence. The II Vatican Council, was inspired by the previous example, and to underline that people have to prevail over economic and social questions, says: «Social order and its progressive development have to subordinate always to persons' welfare, because things are made for man and not the other way round. The Lord pointed it out already when He said the Sabbath was made for man and not man for the Sabbath (cf. Mk 2:27)».

Saint Augustine also says: «Love and do as you please». Have you understood it well or are you still under the obsession secondary things overrule the love we have to place on whatever we do? To work, forgive, correct, attend Mass on Sundays, take care of sick people, abide by the commandments..., do we do it because we have to or because of our love for God? If only these considerations may help us to revitalize all our deeds with the love our Lord has instilled in our hearts, precisely so that we can also love him.

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