Keeping the Sabbath Holy

Luke 14: 1-6
Rom 9:1-5 / Psa 147

Who among you, if your son or ox falls into a well would not immediately pull him out on a sabbath day?
(Luke 14:5)

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, when Jesus went to eat in the house of a prominent Pharisee, He was being observed carefully. There in front of him was a man suffering from dropsy, (an abnormal swelling of the body. Jesus asked the Pharisees and experts of the law, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath or not?” But they remained silent. So taking hold of the man, he healed him and sent him on his way. Then he asked them, “If one of you has a child[a] or an ox that falls into a well on the Sabbath day, will you not immediately pull it out?” But nobody dared an answer. (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 obligation. 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. It is always best to err on the side of compassion and generosity. God would even be pleased if we missed Sunday mass because we practiced corporal works of mercy like visiting the imprisoned or administering to the sick.

A cousin invited us to his new-found ministry of visiting the inmates of our city jail one Sunday, where we distributed books, and had the opportunity to bring cheer to the inmates. We saw the miserable condition of the more than seven hundred 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 needed 250 truckloads of landfill before the housing units could be constructed. My friends and I pledged to raise the needed funds ASAP to help decongest the rehabilitation center. This was a pressing need that had to be addressed more than our obligation to go to mass that Sunday, which, by God’s grace, we were still able to attend at 6:00 pm. Somehow, deep within us, we felt God’s power of healing had manifested 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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