Tuesday of the Second Week in Ordinary Time
Letter to the Hebrews 6:10-20; Psalm 111:1-2, 4-5, 9 and 10c & Mark 2:23-28
For several years I taught a course in moral theology, which included the study of the Ten Commandments. In today’s Gospel narrative the question the Third Commandment is addressed; to “Keep Holy the Lord’s Day.” What does the commandment to “Keep Holy the Sabbath” require of us? Or, better yet, what is the primary intention behind this command?
The “Sabbath rest” was meant to be a time to remember and celebrate God’s goodness and the goodness of all His work, both in the creation and in redemption. It was a day to put everyday work to a halt and to provide needed rest and refreshment. Apparently, “plucking and eating corn from the fields” by Jesus’ disciples was frowned upon because it was done on the Sabbath. I guess they had “Blue Laws” back in Jesus’ day.
Our Lord uses scripture from 1 Samuel to show us that human need has precedence over ritual custom. Jesus reminds the Pharisees that the Sabbath was given for our benefit, to refresh and renew us in living for God. It was intended for good and not for evil. Withholding mercy and kindness in response to human need was never part of God’s intention that we rest from unnecessary labor.
For Catholic Christians, the observance of the Sabbath is transferred to Sunday, the day that Jesus rose from the dead. We help keep the Sabbath holy by participating in the Holy Eucharist and by the prayerful reflection of God’s Holy Word. Keeping Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation sacred are a way of putting all human activity into perspective with God. The Lord’s Day is also an important time for us to slow down to be with our families and renew our bonds of faith and unity.
Question of the Day: How will you place the Lord’s Day above all other days?
Prayer: Father in heaven, never let me forget to keep Holy the Lord’s Day and not let any worldly influence keep us from our obligation to our Lord Jesus. Amen.