September 9, 2023
Saturday of the Twenty-Second Week in Ordinary Time
Readings for Today
“The Son of Man is lord of the sabbath.” Luke 6:5
This short yet powerful statement by Jesus was spoken in response to the Pharisees who questioned Jesus as to why His disciples were apparently doing what was unlawful on the sabbath. They were walking through a field of grain, picking grain as they walked, and eating it for nourishment on their journey from one town to another.
This challenge from the Pharisees highlights their scrupulous approach to the moral law. Recall the Third Commandment given through Moses: “Remember the sabbath day—keep it holy. Six days you may labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath of the LORD your God. You shall not do any work…” (Exodus 20:8–10). From this Commandment, the Pharisees had developed a complex commentary which went into great detail about what kind of work was forbidden on the Sabbath in their view. One such regulation was to pick and mill grain. Thus, they judged that this was what the disciples were doing and were, therefore, violating the Third Commandment.
The laws of God, as they are given by God, must be followed perfectly. His divine Law refreshes us, enlivens us and enables us to live in union with Him. The Pharisees, however, deeply struggled with a need to control the lives of the people through their human interpretation of the divine Law. By saying that “The Son of Man is lord of the sabbath,” Jesus made it clear that this scrupulous interpretation of the Third Commandment taught by the Pharisees did not align with the truths of that divine Law.
One lesson to learn from this encounter is that each one of us can easily fall into a similar trap. It’s easy to replace God’s true Law with our perception of faith and morality. We are weak human beings, and there are many things that affect our thinking and our convictions in life. Emotions, habits, family relationships, friendships, media and so many other things affect us in powerful ways. Sometimes for good and sometimes for ill. We can easily arrive at certain judgments of faith and morality that are slightly erroneous, being based on subtle errors. As a result, we can easily begin to get off track in our thinking and convictions and, over time, can find that we have deviated far from the truths of God. When this happens, it can be difficult to humbly admit it and change our convictions.
Reflect, today, upon the humble truth that Jesus and Jesus alone is Lord of the divine Law. This means that we must perpetually remain open to changing our opinions when we hear our Lord speak to us. Ponder any way in which you have become overly attached to your own opinions. If they bring forth peace, joy, charity and the like, then they are most likely in union with God. If they are burdensome, a cause of confusion, contention or frustration, then you may need to step back and humbly reexamine the convictions you hold, so that He Who is Lord of all will be able to speak His divine Law to you more clearly.
Lord of all Truth, You and You alone are the guide of my life. You and You alone are the Truth. Help me to be humble, dear Lord, so that I can recognize any error in my convictions and turn to You and Your divine Law as the one and only guide for my life. Jesus, I trust in You.
Novena to Our Lady of Sorrows
Traditionally prayed September 7–15
Saint of the Day – Saint Peter Claver, Priest