A Day of Love

Luke 14: 1-6
Phil 1: 1-11 / Ps 111: 1-6

Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath, or not?
(Luke 14:3)

Work is holier on the Sabbath day
If it is for the sake of love.
Not by our power do we work or pray,
But by God’s Spirit from above.

One Sabbath, Jesus went to dine at the home of a leading Pharisee, and the people there were observing Him closely. In front of Him there was a man who had dropsy. And Jesus spoke to the lawyers and Pharisees, saying, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath, or not?” But they were silent. Then He took him and healed him, and let him go. And He said to them, “Which of you, having a son or an ox that has fallen into a well, will not immediately pull him out on a Sabbath day?” But they could not reply to this. (Luke 14: 1-6)

Reflection

For us Christians, going to mass on Sundays has become such a regular schedule that we cannot imagine spending a Sunday without this mandate. We go to mass on this last day of the week because it is the holiest day, and we need to give a portion of our time to God. That is why we do not work on a Sunday. If we do work on this day, however, out of love for those who depend on us, it does not mean we are making God’s day less holy. In fact, we are making it more special for Him. Nothing we do, after all, can make any day more or less holier. Only God can make it so.

Jesus discarded the laws of the Sabbath when He saw a need to be charitable. The Jews imposed the Sabbath law as a day of rest. Bur Jesus emphasized to them that more than rest, the Sabbath was a day of love. It is always best to err on the side of compassion and generosity. In our case, God would even be pleased if we missed Sunday mass because we practiced corporal works of mercy like visiting the imprisoned or ministering to the sick.

A cousin invited us one Sunday to his prison ministry of visiting the inmates at the city jail, where we distributed books, and had the opportunity to bring cheer to the imprisoned. We saw the miserable condition of the more than 700 souls incarcerated there, in quarters built for half their number. The warden showed us a nearby site where the Couples for Christ would build GK housing units for the women and juvenile inmates. He said the site still needed 250 truckloads of landfill before the housing units could be constructed. My friends and I committed to raise the needed funds ASAP to help decongest the rehabilitation center. This was a need that had to be addressed far more than our obligation to go to mass that day, which, fortunately, we were able to attend at 6:00 pm. Somehow, we felt God’s power of healing manifesting itself in our lives that beautiful Sunday morning.

You make our Sabbath day more special, Father, when You send us to those who are in need, for as our Lord Jesus said, You desire mercy more than sacrifice. Amen.

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