Jesus aggressively responds to the Pharisees’ attacks about the Sabbath. Every Catholic man can grow in happiness by building the Virtue of Religion so he can steadfastly keep his Sunday Obligation of the Mass and by growing in the Virtue of Piety so he can be renewed in spirit, mind and body by keeping the Sabbath.
15th Week in Ordinary Time – Friday – Mt 12:1-8
After promising rest for the burdened (Mt 11:28-29), Jesus is directly accused by the Pharisees for breaking their interpretation of the law because His disciples plucked grain to eat on the Sabbath.
Jesus humiliates (“Have you not read”) the prideful Pharisees with a blunt 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 further humiliates and rebukes the Pharisees by reminding them of Scripture they should have remembered, “I desire mercy, not sacrifice” (Hos 6:6).
Jesus mysteriously discloses His Divinity in this encounter. His assertion, “something greater than the Temple is here”, is a history-upending claim, a prophecy of His Kingdom and the end of the Jewish Temple sacrificial system. The Jewish belief was that the Temple housed God Himself, and the ritual sacrificial system in the Temple that forgave sin dated back over a thousand years to Moses. Jesus makes another shocking proclamation of His Divinity: “The Son of Man is the Lord of the Sabbath.”
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. be renewed in rest.