Scripture: Lectionary 436. Sept.7. Colossians 1:21-23, Psalm 54:3-4.6.8. Luke 6: 1-5:
Jesus is the center of our daily celebrations of the Eucharist. Both the Scriptures and the Sacrament of the Eucharist focus on Jesus Christ, Son of God, become son of Mary for our salvation. The Incarnation has always been the beginning and source for what we celebrate in the Eucharist each day. Jesus mission—his redemption of humankind and its reconciliation with the Creator is essential to each Eucharist. And Paul, in all of his epistles and letters, is focused almost exclusively on Jesus as the Christ. His favorite “Christological” phrase is “in Christ” used over one hundred times in the vast amount of his writings called epistles and letters. We saw how Christ- oriented Paul is in his use of the Christological and Baptismal hymn read in our liturgy yesterday. Paul writes with finesse when it comes to exhorting and encourages his listeners to be both steadfast and stalwart in their profession of faith. They and we are exhorted to grow in our faith in Jesus Christ. He does this in today’s excerpt from Colossians by emphasizing our being saved by faith in Jesus. Jesus is our source for reconciliation with God and with one another.
In the Gospel we learn more about the authority of Jesus. The word used for this is “exousia” meaning that his authority comes from the very being and nature of who Jesus is as God and as totally human. To explain why Jesus is able to lay aside some of the manmade laws about fasting or eating and observing the Sabbath, Jesus shows an example taken from the life of David who ate and distributed the bread that was kept in the sanctuary and was reserved for the priests. He declares that he, the “Son of Man” is Lord over the Sabbath. How is it that he is able to set aside the laws of his religion concerning the Sabbath? It is through his very being (ousia) that he is both totally human and wondrously divine. Thus he is Lord even over the Sabbath. We have an expression that is easily applied to Jesus in this portion of the Gospel of Luke, namely, “the lawmaker is above the law.” This applies to the divine nature of Jesus’ authority.
Often we misunderstand the laws of the Torah and the laws of the Church. They, too, like the Scriptures, need commentary in order to observe them well. The spirit of the laws of the religion of Jesus was what he always wanted his followers to observe not merely a letter of the law implementation of them. This demands love of God, wisdom and reason together with faith in the true spirit of the laws especially those that are God given. For us we need to use our reason and our faith to understand the laws we are told to observe. Paul shows us both his wisdom and his knowledge and his faith in Jesus to help us understand not only what he writes but also what he received about Jesus from Peter and the other apostles.
To meditate on the law of the Lord we may wish to start with Psalm 1 and move to Psalm 19, then to the magnificent acrostic psalm with seven themes about the laws of God in Psalm 119, the longest Psalm in the Bible consisting of 176 verses. Amen.
Copyright 2013 Fr. Bertrand Buby, S.M.