January 22, 2013 - Tuesday of the Second Week in Ordinary Time

Hebrews 6:10-20
Psalm 111:1-2, 4-5, 9-10
Mark 2:23-28

Jesus tells us that the “Son of Man is lord even of the Sabbath.” We are all sons and daughters of humans. In this case the example of David and the Apostles means that religious laws are important, but some can be broken for good reasons. If God had not told us “Thou shall not kill”, murder would still be wrong, but if he had not told us to rest on the Sabbath or which bread was special, there would be no reason not to work on the Sabbath or eat the bread. So, since these laws are not intrinsically necessary, it seems that each person, using their conscience needs to decide when to follow them and when to break them.

There is a problem with this interpretation. There is no reason to suggest that the disciples of Jesus were particularly hungry. Were they just so rural that they had no idea that picking heads of grain on the Sabbath would be frowned upon? This seems unlikely. Did Jesus tell them that it was okay? Did he command them to do it? He is the Son of Man. Has he come to change a law? But he says that he will not change any laws.

The real difference is Jesus. His presence changes how to understand the Law. David and his companions did not follow the letter of the Law because they were starving. The disciples do not follow the Law because the point of the Law was fulfilled in their midst. As Jesus says, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.” God did not create us so that someone would be resting once a week. God created the once-a-week rest for us.

Work is a punishment that came after Adam and Eve were kicked out of Eden. The Sabbath is a little Eden at the end of the week, but Jesus is our Eden. The Pharisees could only remember paradise because the punishment of work was taken away for one day. We can experience paradise in Our Lord. Jesus was not just a teacher with some good ideas. He is God. We are not supposed to hear his teaching as more work for us to do. We are supposed to take up our Cross and follow him, and come rest in his arms. The taking up the Cross and the resting are one and the same.