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January 22, 2019 Featured

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book PNG2112Gospel: Mark 2:23-28
One Sabbath he was walking through grain fields. As his disciples walked along with him, they began to pick the heads of grain and crush them in their hands. Then the Pharisees said to Jesus, “Look! They are doing what is forbidden on the Sabbath!” And he said to them, “Have you never read what David did in his time of need; when he and his men were very hungry? He went into the House of God, when Abiathar was High Priest, and ate; the bread of offering, which only  the  priests  are  allowed  to  eat,  and  he  also  gave some to the men who were with him.” Then Jesus said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. So the Son of Man is master even of the Sabbath.”

“The Son of Man is master even of the Sabbath.”
As Jesus travels the country­ side, he constantly encounters self­ appointed guardians of True Religion who upbraid him for some transgression. From their point of view these are not small matters. They believe that Israel’s deliverance—the very coming of the Messiah—depends on faithful observance of the law. They seem to forget how the prophets railed against an approach to religious practice that focused on external piety and obedience while mean­ while failing to honor the highest commandments of justice and mercy. Their very punctiliousness about the Law prevented them from recognizing the presence of the Messiah in their midst. Jesus exemplifies a different hierarchy of values. As he points out, with a reference to King Da­vid (not in every sense the best character witness), the law does not exist for its own sake, but to serve a higher purpose. Today’s guardians of True Religion some­ times miss this point. They may rail against any deviation from liturgical rules and overlook the higher commandment. As Mo­ther Maria Skobtsova, an Ortho­dox nun and martyr, said, “The meaning of the liturgy must be translated into life. It is why Christ came into the world and why he gave us our liturgy.”

© Copyright Bible Diary 2019

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