Daily Reflection – 1/21/2020
As he 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.” (Mark 2:23-28)
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.
For Jesus, human need was important than the written law. Since the law came from God originally, Jesus tells the Pharisees they had not interpreted the law properly. They might be literal and superficial. In reference to King David, Jesus shows the older interpretation was right one. That is why Jesus said the Sabbath was made for the good of man; man was not made for the Sabbath.
For Jesus, as for us, the real priority is not to be slave to the law but to use the law, in the best way possible, to ease for human needs. In other words, human life has to be the measure of everything but not the law. In the same way religion is for man and not man for religion. If our religion does not enable us to do good to men, it is useless. If the laws and observances do not help a man and meaningless to observe them, better keep them aside. Because they are not justified to the human will.
The Pharisees here are the Jewish fundamentalists that Jesus encountered. Fundamentalists appear in every denomination and they all act the same. They don’t know how to make exceptions. They persuade themselves that they have “God’s absolute point of view” and that their mission is to bring everyone else into line “with their God.”
But who among us owns the moral imperative? Who among us lives such a perfect life that he/she can say they are blameless in all things? No one of us !! Instead, we should constantly be looking within ourselves to see how we can live a better life by lifting up our neighbor rather than weighing them down with judgement.
Prayer of The Day
Lord, may I give you fitting honor in the way I live my life and in the way I treat my neighbor. May I honor the Lord’s Day as a day holy to you. And may I always treat others with the same mercy and kindness which you have shown to me. Free me from a critical and intolerant spirit that I may always seek the good of my neighbor.
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 not part of God’s intention that we rest from unnecessary labor. Do you honor the Lord in the way you treat your neighbor and celebrate the Lord’s Day?