GOD’S WORD FOR THE DAY – DATE: SEPTEMBER 9, 2017
GOD’S WORD FOR THE DAY (based on Catholic Liturgical Readings)
DATE: SEPTEMBER 9, 2017
SATURDAY OF THE TWENTY-SECOND WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME
(MEMORIAL OF SAINT PETER CLAVER, PRIEST)
FIRST READING: 1 Colossians 1:21-23
PSALM: Psalm 54:3-4, 6 and 8
GOSPEL: Luke 6:1-5
THEME: THE LORD OF THE SABBATH
According to Jewish law: “Six days you shall work, but on the seventh day you shall rest; even in ploughing time and in harvest time you shall rest” (Ex 34:21). To break the Sabbath law was a serious offence. In fact, Exodus 31:14 stipulates that “You shall keep the Sabbath, because it is holy for you; everyone who profanes it shall be put to death; whoever does any work on it shall be cut off from among the people.”
The pharisaic interpretation of the Sabbath law was so stringent, it is said, that they made it unlawful even to throw excess grains to one’s poultry lest they sprout and one incurs the guilt of working on the Sabbath. Even hitting hard (swatting) a housefly was interpreted as offensive on the Sabbath.
In the Gospel text, the disciples of Jesus landed into trouble with the legal system of the Jews. They were “caught” picking ears of corn and eating them (i.e. harvesting) on the Sabbath day. The Pharisees, very much aware of the demands of the Law, turned to Jesus and said to him, “Why do you do what is not lawful on the Sabbath?” (Luke 6:2). Jesus stepped in as a “lawyer” and came to the defence of his disciples making reference to a precedence in the interpretation and application of the Law in the case of David (cf. 1Sam. 21:1-6). Having given a solid defence on behalf of his disciples, he concluded with the statement, “The Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath” (Luke 6:5).
The law of the Sabbath which was meant to create space and time for the Israelite to commune with Adonai had become a tool for enslavement. It had become the reason for people to be condemned rather than liberated simply because some human beings, not God, had decided to make it so.
Sometimes, we enslave people with interpretations of the Word of God that has no bearing with God himself. To be enslaved in the house of God is indeed a travesty. Jesus, the Son of Man and the Lord of the Sabbath, comes to liberate humanity from all such oppressions and to lead us to experience the glorious freedom of the sons and daughters of God.
PRAYER: Lord Jesus Christ we turn to you for liberation. Set us free from all forms of oppression and make our lives blossom in freedom. Amen
Andrews Obeng, svd
DIVINE WORD MISSIONARIES
BIBLICAL PASTORAL MINISTRY
“May the darkness of sin and the night of unbelief vanish before the light of the Word and the Spirit of grace. And may the heart of Jesus live in the hearts of all people” (St. Arnold Janssen).