A reading from the Holy Gospel according to Luke (Luke 6: 1-5).
While Jesus was going through a field of grain on a sabbath,
his disciples were picking the heads of grain,
rubbing them in their hands, and eating them.
Some Pharisees said,
“Why are you doing what is unlawful on the sabbath?”
Jesus said to them in reply,
“Have you not read what David did
when he and those who were with him were hungry?
How he went into the house of God, took the bread of offering,
which only the priests could lawfully eat,
ate of it, and shared it with his companions?”
Then he said to them, “The Son of Man is lord of the sabbath.”
Good News Reflection: Lord of Mercy
While he was going through a field of grain on a Sabbath, his disciples were picking the heads of grain, rubbing them in their hands, and eating them. Some Pharisees said, “Why are you doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath?” Jesus said to them in reply, “Have you not read what David did when he and those (who were) with him were hungry? (How) he went into the house of God, took the bread of offering, which only the priests could lawfully eat, ate of it, and shared it with his companions.” Then he said to them, “The Son of Man is lord of the Sabbath.”
Introductory Prayer:Lord, I believe in you as my Lord and God, Creator and Redeemer. I owe you so much love, yet fail you so often in my poor humanity. Still, I trust you Lord, for you offer me a share in your kind and patient heart of love. With you and for you I can learn to love. Simplify my life with this one desire, to love you above all else.
Petition:Grant me Lord, a meek and humble heart of love.
1. The disciples What do we see in these carefree disciples of the Lord? They are simply free, free to enjoy life, to grab a snack, to endure the long journey. Why? Because they are with the Lord! He is their security and strength. They would do anything for him, (well, at this point, almost anything). They are not caught up in human rules and calculations. They are focused on Jesus. Trust grows as they come to know him and learn about what is essential to serving God. They are learning to give themselves and love is the one constant in their lives: follow the Lord out of love, wherever he leads. They are not so distracted by social norms or what others think. They are on a mission. Does my life have the simplicity and single-mindedness of a disciple of the Lord?
2. The Pharisees These self-appointed leaders and teachers of the law do not enjoy the same freedom. It is not a mission but rather a fear that drives them. They are not drawn by love and knowledge of the Lord but by self-righteousness and envy. Imagine them tagging along just to see what Jesus and his disciples do next. And what were they doing out in a field of grain on the Sabbath? They were spying, looking for something to complain about or criticize. How easily we justify such posture. ‘Why if I don’t speak up, no one will!’ What is more tragic than the fact that these ‘leaders’ have nothing better to do, is the fact that they are wasting a golden opportunity to learn about Jesus, learn from Jesus and understand a little better the laws they hold so dear. Does my own pride and tendency to judge keep me from recognizing Christ and learning from him?
3. The Heart of Jesus He must have expected their challenge, though higher things had his attention. Nevertheless, Jesus loved the Pharisees as well. Did he not weep over them as well when he looked down and regretted Jerusalem’s blindness? How he restrains his response, full of patience, and invites their understanding! As a father with his teenage son, Jesus prods them with respect and returns the challenge, “have you not read…”; words spoken with hope and love. He gently but firmly suggests that they gaze beyond the law, to the Lawgiver: The Son of Man is lord of the Sabbath.How many of them managed to see his heart? Did even his disciples understand how he was preparing to live out these words with his own flesh? “He went into the house of God, took the bread of offering, which only the priests could lawfully eat, ate of it, and shared it with his companions.” Am I a patient and respectful teacher, even when my children or employees seem out to get me?
Dialogue with Christ:Dear Lord, give me a share in your patient and loving heart. Teach me to untangle and disarm those who complicate their lives with all kinds of worries and fears. Simplify my living with a vision of faith that sees only you and your will before all else. Dissolve my pride by teaching me humility of heart, grateful and indebted for all you have given me.
Resolution:The next time I am tempted to criticize someone else, first ask Jesus for his thoughts
Fr. Marcial Maciel, LC