Keeping Sabbath Holy

When I was still working at NAIA Terminal III, I was always excited to have my day off. A day off meant that I was going home to Bulacan to take some rest after a long and tiring week of work. It also meant attending the Holy Mass in our parish church. However, instead of spending my day relaxing and sleeping, I usually ended up accompanying my mother to purchase supplies for our mini sari-sari store. Hence, my days off had become extended work days. Despite that, I was happy because I was able to help my mother, and that is even more precious than taking a rest.

One of the main points of contention between Jesus and his opponents was the Sabbath. Religious leaders criticized Jesus in the Gospel for allowing his followers to pluck and eat grain on the Sabbath. The Pharisees considered this to be work, which was prohibited on the Sabbath. Both their interpretation and motivation were rejected by Jesus. We obey the law because we want to maintain order. To achieve order, we must understand the true spirit of the law, not just the letter of the law. We do not use the law to degrade or undervalue others. We follow the law in order to improve the lives of the poor and underprivileged, not to pass judgment on them. The commandment to keep the Sabbath holy should not be so stringent that it sucks out our joy or prevents people from performing necessary tasks on that day. The Gospel invites us to walk in the ways of Jesus, that is, the way of mercy and justice. The Gospel challenges us to do the right things that are pleasing in God’s eyes.

By: Sem. Jimwell S. Sales

Today’s Gospel

Matthew 12:1-8

Jesus was going through a field of grain on the sabbath.
His disciples were hungry
and began to pick the heads of grain and eat them.
When the Pharisees saw this, they said to him,
“See, your disciples are doing what is unlawful to do on the sabbath.”
He said to the them, “Have you not read what David did
when he and his companions were hungry,
how he went into the house of God and ate the bread of offering,
which neither he nor his companions
but only the priests could lawfully eat?
Or have you not read in the law that on the sabbath
the priests serving in the temple violate the sabbath
and are innocent?
I say to you, something greater than the temple is here.
If you knew what this meant, I desire mercy, not sacrifice,
you would not have condemned these innocent men.
For the Son of Man is Lord of the sabbath.”

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