Saturday in the Twenty-Second Week of Ordinary Time

Speaking not only with my students, but quite a few others, I hear the comment that this passage and others like it dispense Christians from being overly concerned (or concerned at all) about keeping the Sabbath. But that reading overlooks the central point that Jesus was making to them, that “the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.” This can mean, as it does here, that the disciples are able to eat grain to satisfy their needs while following Him. But if Jesus is the one who is “Lord of the Sabbath,” it also means that the Sabbath is not something to do with as we please.

Josef Pieper remarked that for many people, raised with the supreme value of hard work, there is the attitude that a person “can only enjoy, with a good conscience, what he has acquired through toil and trouble; he refuses to have anything as a gift.” If this attitude prevails, then our salvation is in serious jeopardy, since it a gift in every sense of the word. The Sabbath is a reminder to us of this fact. The Sabbath is not a day to do work, but to enjoy rest. It is a day to be aware of and enjoy gifts from God. On the day of the week that the Lord of the Sabbath conquered death, we give him praise and receive the gift of Himself in the Eucharist. Thursday, we saw the importance of gratitude in being prompt to follow God. Tomorrow, as we enjoy the gift of the Lord’s Day and the gift of Lord Himself, we have a particular opportunity to cultivate that gratitude and become ever more prompt in following the Lord.

September 7th, 2013