One sabbath while Jesus was going through the grainfields, his disciples plucked some heads of grain, rubbed them in their hands, and ate them. But some of the Pharisees said, “Why are you doing what is not lawful on the sabbath?”Jesus answered, “Have you not read what David did when he and his companions were hungry? He entered the house of God and took and ate the bread of the Presence, which it is not lawful for any but the priests to eat, and gave some to his companions?” Then he said to them, “The Son of Man is lord of the sabbath.”
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations
Both Jesus and his opponents believed that the Sabbath should be kept holy. Jesus was always faithful to the worship prescribed by Moses, and so expects his followers to ‘walk as he did’, to worship faithfully and wholeheartedly. Jesus also knew that certain Sabbath obligations should yield to love of my neighbor (rubbing grain to make it edible was considered ‘work’ and so forbidden by the wise of Jesus’ time). He worshipped God, but taught his disciples to love others in need, even if such love means that a Sabbath rule be broken. Such is the importance of love of neighbor, and this is still true today.
God asks for worship and respect, but hopes that one does not refuse help to another because one should not work on Sunday. We cannot underestimate the value of love, for we know its importance for ourselves. So for others as well.
—John Kilgallen, SJ, a Chicago-Detroit province Jesuit, is emeritus professor at the Pontifical Biblical Institute, Rome.
Lord, help us to remember that you did not redeem us with words or actions. You did it with your flesh. You become one of us, to heal us from within. Let our daily focus be on accepting the grace and healing that comes from you.
—Adapted from Pope Francis homily of July 4, 2013