Good News for the Day, January 16, 2018
Tuesday of the Second Week in Ordinary Time (312)
As Jesus was walking along through a field of grain crops on the sabbath, his followers began picking the heads of grain as they created a pathway. Seeing this the Pharisees said to him, “Look, why are they doing something unlawful during the Sabbath period?” Jesus answered them, “Haven’t you read how, when David needed it, he did what he did because he and his fellow guerillas were hungry? …how he went into the house of God—when Abiathar was the high priest—and ate the sacred bread reserved by law just to priests—and even shared it with his companions?” Jesus then said to them, “The sabbath has been designated for humans, and not the other way around. That is why This Human Child is over the sabbath.” (Mark 2)
How important it is today to get the spirit of this story. The devout, dedicated men entrusted with the Law—and the laws—that govern their community step in to criticize a breaking of the law as they understand it. You and I would tend to agree with the Pharisees—that these low-class, and ignorant, people are doing something wrong—a kind of work forbidden by Jewish tradition.
Jesus cites that very tradition to point out that the Israelite Hero, David, broke a law to get food when he was engaged in a civil war against King Saul. (Jesus was talking about a time when bread was stored, rationed and eventually given to “upper class” priests.)
The Good News—the Inspiration Jesus offers—is that the law—any and all law—is guideline, and its obedience always yields to helping one another, to Love.
Your obedience is your conscience, the guidance of the Father in the needs of others, and the wisdom to sort through faith in God from mechanical obedience. Love God with your mind, He is reminding you. Yes, consequences may come, but your resistance to mechanical (and harmful) control by others is what God calls you to do—to stay in charge of the meaning of law—to be “Lord of the Sabbath.”
Your faith is a key to freedom. You listen to God—that is faith—in His many ways of revelation—conscience, another’s needs, the wisdom of age and wise friends—and then exercise your freedom, your Salvation, from the shackles of external obedience.
If you feel—and do—that salvation, that freedom, then you follow Jesus in fact—and, whatever the consequences, you get the gift of peace and joy.