Jesus humiliates the prideful Pharisees by using Scripture to defend the truth of the Sabbath. Every Catholic man can grow in happiness by faithfully practicing the Virtue of Religion so he always keeps his Sunday obligation of the Mass and by growing the Virtue of Piety so he can be more fully renewed in spirit, mind and body by keeping the Sabbath.
After teaching about fasting, Jesus is directly accused by the Pharisees for breaking the law because His disciples plucked grain to eat on the Sabbath. The Pharisees, in their attempts to gain God’s favor, had extended the Mosaic ritual laws that forbid harvesting grain on the Sabbath to include plucking grain by the hungry.
Jesus humiliates (“Have you not read”) the prideful Pharisees with a harsh rebuke that exposes their lack of understanding of Scripture by offering two examples (David’s men ate showbread; priests were guiltless for handling the bread of the Presence). Remarkably, Jesus cryptically refers to His Eucharist by references to grain and bread: the plucking of grain; showbread; priests who profane (a reference to the bread of Presence).
Jesus also rebukes the Pharisees’ obsession with minute details of their manmade Sabbath rules as a “test” for Jewish faithfulness; Jesus’ words, “the Sabbath was made for man…”, underscore that God intended the Sabbath to be a blessing and not a burden for men. Jesus then makes a shocking proclamation of His Divinity: “The Son of Man is the Lord of the Sabbath”, a highly provocative statement for Jesus claims to be the Son of Man, and the Lord, and that He has dominion over the Sabbath, the exclusive domain of God.
Be awed by Jesus Christ
Many men have a false impression of Jesus as exclusively “meek and mild”, often portrayed as a “lady with a beard”; this false view of Jesus is based on poor catechesis and a failure to diligently study the life of Jesus as accurately portrayed in the Gospels. Marvel at the combative Personality of Jesus shown in this passage: after being accused of breaking the law (which is His law), Jesus uses Humor to Mock the Pharisees who prided themselves on having an authoritative understanding of the Scriptures; He marshals His Divine Knowledge and perfect understanding of the Scriptures to refute the Pharisees’ false accusation; He goes further, despite the Pharisees’ power and influence, asserting He is the Son of Man and Lord of the Sabbath, which, instead of deescalating, Courageously escalates the conflict with the Pharisees to an even higher degree.
Steadfastly keep your Sunday obligation of the Mass
Realize: The Church calls all Catholics to give glory to God the Father, draw close to Jesus in the Eucharist and receive the Spirit on Sunday; no Catholic man has the authority to decide if he may miss his obligation to attend Sunday Mass and missing a Mass requires either prior approval from a priest or the man must confess the grave sin of missing Sunday mass in the Sacrament of Penance.
Believe: Recall that Catholics are Obligated (must do to avoid a state of mortal sin – CCC 2181) to attend Mass every Sunday (CCC 2041, 2177-2183).
Pray: Almighty Father, help me grow in the Virtue of Religion (a part of Justice) so that I never again fail in my Sunday obligation to give thanks, glory and praise to You, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Be renewed in spirit, mind and body by keeping the Sabbath
Realize: For many men, Sunday is a solely day off to relax and have fun or just another day of work.
Believe: Reflect upon The 3rd Commandment and every Catholic man’s obligation to Keep Sunday Holy (CCC 2168-2176, 2184-2188).
Pray: Jesus, Lord of the Sabbath, help me grow in the Virtue of Piety (a part of Justice) so I always obediently set aside Sunday to honor the Blessed Trinity, to grow in sanctity, joyfully spend time with family and friends, serve others, and be renewed in rest.