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Bible reflection: 'Master of the Sabbath'

Staff  |  04 September 2019

In this week's closer look at Bible readings, we consider the First Reading and Gospel for Saturday 7 September 2019.

First reading: Colossians 1:21-23
‘God has reconciled you by Christ's death in his mortal body.’

Not long ago, you were foreigners and enemies, in the way that you used to think and the evil things that you did; but now he has reconciled you, by his death and in that mortal body. Now you are able to appear before him holy, pure and blameless – as long as you persevere and stand firm on the solid base of the faith, never letting yourselves drift away from the hope promised by the Good News, which you have heard, which has been preached to the whole human race, and of which I, Paul, have become the servant. 

Gospel: Luke 6:1-5
‘The Son of Man is master of the Sabbath.’

One Sabbath Jesus happened to be taking a walk through the cornfields, and his disciples were picking ears of corn, rubbing them in their hands and eating them. Some of the Pharisees said, ‘Why are you doing something that is forbidden on the Sabbath day?’ Jesus answered them, ‘So you have not read what David did when he and his followers were hungry how he went into the house of God, took the loaves of offering and ate them and gave them to his followers, loaves which only the priests are allowed to eat?’ And he said to them, ‘The Son of Man is master of the Sabbath.’

Questions to consider

  • Why do we have laws?
  • Can you think of instances where sometimes it is necessary/helpful to break a law?
  • How do you justify that?
  • Would it always be right to break this particular law? Why/why not?
  • Can you see any connections between the first reading and the Gospel?

Reflection from

Colossians 1:21-23. Psalm 53(54):3-4, 6, 8. Luke 6:1-5.
God himself is my help – Psalm 53(54):3-4, 6, 8
‘The Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath’

The first reading tells us not to shift in hope. This is not easy in a world that seems to have more stories of sadness and suffering than ever. The psalm celebrates the offering of oneself. Actions that arise from genuine love are more pleasing to God than those done out of obligation and duty.

In the Gospel, the Pharisees are upset that Jesus does not seem to be concerned with the letter of the law. For if a given rule does not nurture us towards growth and life, is it worth abiding? Consider: do I stand in self-righteous judgment when others make trivial transgressions? Do I acknowledge that everyone has basic needs that they are entitled to meet? Whose interests does a given rule protect? Does it lead to justice and peace?

May we attend to the movement of the Spirit, the inner law of love in our hearts.


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