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Contemplating today's Gospel

Today's Gospel + homily (in 300 words)

Saturday of the Twenty-second Week in Ordinary Time

1st Reading (1Cor 4:6b-15): Brothers and sisters: Learn from myself and Apollos not to go beyond what is written, so that none of you will be inflated with pride in favor of one person over against another. Who confers distinction upon you? What do you possess that you have not received? But if you have received it, why are you boasting as if you did not receive it?

You are already satisfied; you have already grown rich; you have become kings without us! Indeed, I wish that you had become kings, so that we also might become kings with you. For as I see it, God has exhibited us Apostles as the last of all, like people sentenced to death, since we have become a spectacle to the world, to angels and men alike. We are fools on Christ’s account, but you are wise in Christ; we are weak, but you are strong; you are held in honor, but we in disrepute. To this very hour we go hungry and thirsty, we are poorly clad and roughly treated, we wander about homeless and we toil, working with our own hands. When ridiculed, we bless; when persecuted, we endure; when slandered, we respond gently. We have become like the world’s rubbish, the scum of all, to this very moment.

I am writing you this not to shame you, but to admonish you as my beloved children. Even if you should have countless guides to Christ, yet you do not have many fathers, for I became your father in Christ Jesus through the Gospel.
Responsorial Psalm: 144
R/. The Lord is near to all who call upon him.
The Lord is just in all his ways and holy in all his works. The Lord is near to all who call upon him, to all who call upon him in truth.

He fulfills the desire of those who fear him, he hears their cry and saves them. The Lord keeps all who love him, but all the wicked he will destroy.

May my mouth speak the praise of the Lord, and may all flesh bless his holy name forever and ever.
Versicle before the Gospel (Jn 14:6): Alleluia. I am the way and the truth and the life, says the Lord; no one comes to the Father except through me. Alleluia.
Gospel text (Lk 6,1-5): While Jesus was going through a field of grain on a Sabbath, his disciples were picking the heads of grain, rubbing them in their hands, and eating them. Some Pharisees said, “Why are you doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath?” Jesus said to them in reply, “Have you not read what David did when he and those who were with him were hungry? How he went into the house of God, took the bread of offering, which only the priests could lawfully eat, ate of it, and shared it with his companions?” Then he said to them, “The Son of Man is lord of the Sabbath.”

«The Son of Man is lord of the Sabbath»

Fr. Austin Chukwuemeka IHEKWEME (Ikenanzizi, Nigeria)

Today, responding to the Pharisees' accusation, Jesus explains the correct meaning of the Sabbath, while quoting an example from the Old Testament (cf. Deut 23:26): “Have you not read what David did (...)? He went into the house of God, took the bread of offering, which only the priests could lawfully eat, ate of it, and shared it with his companions” (Lk 6:3-4).

David's behavior anticipates the doctrine Christ teaches in this passage. God had already established in the Old Testament an order for the precepts of the Law, whereby those of less rank would yield to the main ones.

In the light of all this, it can be understood that a ceremonial precept (as the one we are commenting on) yields to a precept of the natural law. The precept of Sabbath, likewise, is not more important than the elementary needs of subsistence.

In this passage, Christ teaches which was the meaning of the divine institution of the Sabbath: God had instituted it to man's benefit, so that he could rest and devote his time with peace and joy to the divine worship. However, the Pharisees' interpretation had transformed this day into a day of anguish and worrying because of the many directions and prohibitions.

The Sabbath had been set up not only for man's rest, but also to glorify God: this is the actual and true meaning of the expression «The Sabbath was made for man...» (Mk 2:27).

Furthermore, by declaring himself “Lord of the Sabbath” (cf. Lk 6:5), He openly manifests that He is the very same God who gave the precept to the people of Israel, thus confirming his divinity and his universal power. For this reason, other laws can be established, just as Yahweh did in the Old Testament. Jesus can therefore be called “Lord of the Sabbath”, because He is God.

Let us beg the Virgin Mother of God to help us believe and understand that the Sabbath belongs to God and that it is a way —adapted to our own nature— to glorify and honour the Almighty. As John Paul II has written, «our rest is a “sacred”» thing and an occasion «to realize that everything is the work of God».