Today’s Gospel: Matthew 12:1-8
Some people interpret today’s Gospel passage as if Jesus came to undo much of the Old Testament law, when in fact He used this occasion to clarify the Father’s message to “keep the Sabbath holy” (Deut. 5:12). The Pharisees, through their well-intended actions to comply with God’s Commandments, had added on many human laws; so many, that it became almost impossible to comply with the laws and subsist at the same time.
What Jesus wanted to make clear, via this teaching, is that He is greater than the temple and its man-made laws. What He desires (His will), is all that matters; for Jesus has ultimate authority over the law. Unable to fathom that Jesus was the Son of God, the Pharisees were unable to see this truth, let alone, understand Jesus’ message.
Jesus believed that it was more important to meet the physical needs of His disciples at that moment, than to honor human law regarding the Sabbath sacrifice requirements. Therefore, Jesus had mercy on the disciples and fed them from the field, even though it went against human law.
How effectively do you keep the entire Sabbath holy? Does it extend beyond the hour or so you spend at Mass? If not, then look for ways to imitate Christ by extending mercy to your family, friends, neighbors and community.
Jesus, help me to understand Your will in how I may truly “keep the Sabbath holy” in my life. Show me where I may imitate you by showing mercy to others in need. Amen.
Copyright 2017 Virginia Lieto
In addition to being a Catholic blogger, Virginia Lieto is an adjunct professor, teaching undergraduate courses for Saint Joseph’s College of Maine’s Online Theology Program. She is the author of Adventures of Faith, Hope, and Charity – Finding Patience, a children’s book that teaches both children and adults the value of the virtue of patience. She is also a public speaker on the Catholic faith.