Tuesday - Ordinary Time
1) Opening prayer
Father of heaven and earth,
hear our prayers,
and show us the way to your peace in the
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
2) Gospel Reading - Mark 2,23-28
that one Sabbath day he was taking a walk through the cornfields, and his
disciples began to make a path by plucking ears of corn.
Pharisees said to him, 'Look, why are they doing something on the Sabbath day
that is forbidden?' And he replied, 'Have you never read what David did in his
time of need when he and his followers were hungry - how he went into the house
of God when Abiathar was high priest, and ate the loaves of the offering which
only the priests are allowed to eat, and how he also gave some to the men with
And he said to
them, 'The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath; so the Son of man
is master even of the Sabbath.'
• The Law exists for
the good of persons. One day on
the Sabbath, the disciples passed by a cornfield and they opened a path by
plucking ears of corn. In Matthew 12, 1 it is said that they were hungry. Quoting
the Bible, the Pharisees criticized the attitude of the disciples. It would be
a transgression of the law of the Sabbath (cf. Ex 20, 8-11). Jesus responded
quoting the Bible also to indicate that the arguments of the others have no
meaning, no reason for being. He recalls that David himself did something which
was prohibited, because he took the sacred bread of the temple and gave it to
the soldiers to eat because they were hungry (I Sam 21, 2-7). And Jesus ends
with two important phrases (a) the Sabbath is made for man and not man for
the Sabbath, (b)) The Son of Man is the Lord of the Sabbath!
• The Sabbath is
made for man and not man for the Sabbath. For more than five-hundred years, since the time of the
Babylonian captivity to the time of Jesus, the Jews had observed the law of the
Sabbath. This secular observance became for them a strong sign of identity. The
Sabbath was rigorously observed. At the time of the Maccabees, toward the end
of the second century before Christ, this observance had reached a critical
point. Attacked by the Greeks one Sabbath, the rebellious Maccabees preferred
to allow themselves to be killed rather than to transgress the law of the
Sabbath using arms to defend their own life. For this, one thousand persons
died (I Mac 2, 32-38). Reflecting on the massacre the Maccabee leaders
concluded that they should resist and defend their own life, even on the
Sabbath (I Mac 2, 39-41) Jesus used the same attitude: to consider the law of
the Sabbath in a relative way in favour of the human life, because the law
exists for the good of human life, and not vice-versa!
• The Son of Man is
also the Lord of the Sabbath! The
new experience of God as Father/Mother makes Jesus, the Son of Man, to have the
key to discover the intention of God who is at the origin of the Law of the Old
Testament. For this reason, the Son of Man is also the Lord of the Sabbath. Living
with the people of Galilee during thirty years and feeling in his own person
the oppression and the exclusion to which so many brothers and sisters were
condemned in the name of the Law of God, Jesus perceives that this could not be
the significance of that law. If God is Father, then he accepts all as sons and
daughters. If God is Father, then we should be brothers and sisters to others.
And this is what Jesus lived and preached, from the beginning to the end. The
Law of the Sabbath must be at the service of life and of fraternity. If was
precisely because of his fidelity to this message that Jesus was condemned to
death. He disturbed the system, he was uncomfortable for them, and the system
defended itself, using force against Jesus, because he wanted the Law itself to
be at the service of life and not vice-versa.
• Jesus and the
Bible. The Pharisees criticized
Jesus in the name of the Bible. Jesus responds and criticizes the Pharisees
using the Bible. He knew the Bible by heart. At that time, there were no
printed Bibles as we have today! In every community there was only one Bible,
hand written which remained in the Synagogue. If Jesus knew the Bible so well,
it means that during 30 years of his life in Nazareth, he participated
intensely in the life of the community, where the Scripture was read every
Saturday. We still lack very much in order to have the same familiarity with
the Bible and the same participation in the community!
4) Personal questions
• Saturday is for the human being and not vice-versa.
Which are the points in my life which I have to change?
• Even without having the Bible at home, Jesus
knew it by heart. And I?
5) Concluding prayer
I give thanks
to Yahweh with all my heart,
meeting-place of honest people, in the assembly.
Great are the
deeds of Yahweh,
to be pondered
by all who delight in them. (Ps 111,1-2)