January 20, 2015

Gospel Mk 2:23-28
As Jesus was passing through a field of grain on the sabbath,
his disciples began to make a path while picking the heads of grain.
At this the Pharisees said to him,
“Look, why are they doing what is unlawful on the sabbath?”
He said to them,
“Have you never read what David did
when he was in need and he and his companions were hungry?
How he went into the house of God when Abiathar was high priest
and ate the bread of offering that only the priests could lawfully eat,
and shared it with his companions?”
Then he said to them,
“The sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath.
That is why the Son of Man is lord even of the sabbath.”
Religious rules, regulations and traditions have their place. As members of a particular community, we may take comfort, feel connected and gain a sense of peace from taking part in the prescribed observances of our religion.
However, religious tradition and observances should not take the place of our primary obligation: to love and care for our fellow man.
Years ago, after a hectic three weeks of Christmas deliveries, we were leaving My Brothers Keeper to attend ten o’clock mass on Christmas Eve. Just as we were walking out the door, the phone rang. It was a man who lived alone, asking for food.
Clearly, if we responded to his request for help, we would not be able to make Mass.
After packing the food order, we searched among the remaining Christmas stock for a few gift items: socks, gloves, a shaving kit and a picture of the Nativity.
By the time we arrived at “Gilbert’s” apartment, it was quarter past ten and we realized we had missed Mass. Then it dawned on us, we hadn’t missed Mass at all.
Like the Wise Men, we brought the gifts and the Son of Man touched us in the form of a forlorn man who was alone on Christmas Eve.