Gospel Reading – Matthew 12: 1-8
At that time Jesus went through the grainfields on the Sabbath; his disciples were hungry, and they began to pluck heads of grain and to eat. When the Pharisees saw it, they said to him, “Look, your disciples are doing what is not lawful to do on the Sabbath.”
He said to them, “Have you not read what David did when he and his companions were hungry? He entered the house of God and ate the bread of the Presence, which it was not lawful for him or his companions to eat, but only for the priests. Or have you not read in the law that on the Sabbath the priests in the temple break the Sabbath and yet are guiltless? I tell you, something greater than the temple is here.
But if you had known what this means, ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the guiltless. For the Son of Man is lord of the Sabbath.”
The Gospel of the Lord
The Mass intention is for Terry Carty RIP
For the Pharisees, the meticulous observation of all their traditions was the most important value, even higher than being merciful and sensitive to the concrete needs of others. Jesus shows them that even in the Old Testament God thought otherwise, for he desires mercy more than sacrifice. In today’s uncertain world this could also be a very real temptation: if I fulfil the law scrupulously, I can feel fine before God. Yet Jesus challenges us to think and act otherwise.
For the Son of Man is lord of the Sabbath. For the Jews, the Sabbath was one of their holiest institutions, so that these were strong words indeed. Yet Jesus was not afraid of uttering them, and he knew he was making a huge claim – he was claiming he was God.
- Can I extend to others the gift of mercy and love so generously shared with me?