Love on the Sabbath

Mark 2:23-28
Heb 6: 10-20 / Psa 111

“The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.”
(Mark 2:27-28)

The Sabbath’s more than day of rest,
It’s also meant for our delight;
God therefore set aside the best
To worship Him with all our might.

One Sabbath, Jesus was going through a field of grain, and as his disciples walked along, they began to pick some heads of grain. The Pharisees said to him, “Look, why are they doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath?” He answered, “Have you never read what David did when he and his companions were hungry and in need? In the days of Abiathar the high priest, he entered the house of God and ate the consecrated bread, which is lawful only for priests to eat. And he also gave some to his companions.” Then He said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.” (Mark 2: 23-28)

Reflection

Today’s Gospel account of Mark again brings to a focus the conflict between the Jewish officials’ strict observance of their religious rituals and our Lord’s concern for human needs. It was about these religious officials in Jesus’ time that Isaiah wrote, “Yes, you fast but end up quarreling, striking each other with wicked blows. Fasting as you do will not make your voice heard on high.” (Isa.58:4) They were too blind to realize that if Jesus could exercise authority over demons, illness, and sin, then He certainly had authority over the Sabbath law.

God instituted the Sabbath not as a yoke to burden man, but to compel him to take a rest for his physical, spiritual and emotional renewal. The Sabbath was intended to benefit man’s personal well being, and at the same time remove him for a day from his labors so that he could contribute to other endeavors beneficial to others.

The observance of the Sabbath, or Sunday should not be out of obligation, but out of love and devotion. The opportunity came as a revelation for us last Sunday when we were invited to the fiesta celebration of the Sto. Niño. During lunch, we learned from one of our community’s brothers that a member of our unit was sick, and we decided to cut short our celebration that Sunday and pay her a visit. Their house being quite a distance away from the city proper, she and her husband appreciated our group’s unannounced call. But I believe we came away with a greater feeling of joy, because in that afternoon visit we found rest in God’s abounding love.

God never wearies in all His work, and did not really rest on the seventh day. He merely paused to admire the beauty of His creation. In the same way, He wants us to set aside a day when we can thank Him fully for all our blessings by expressing our love to others. It is also the day when we can reflect on His Word, and be fully reinvigorated by His Holy Spirit in a quiet time and place with prayer and worship.

Help us, dear God to devote one day of the week to contemplate on Your Word, and to bring others to You through prayers and good works. Amen.

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