“Law; an ordinance of reason for the common good, made by him who has care of the community”. St. Thomas Aquinas
Gospel text (Mk 2:23-28): One sabbath Jesus was walking through grainfields. 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».
Today, as yesterday, Jesus has to contend with the Pharisees, who are distorting Moses' Law, by highlighting the letter of the law while ignoring the actual spirit of the Law. The Pharisees accuse, indeed, Jesus' disciples of violating the Sabbath (cf. Mk 2:24). According to their overwhelming casuistry, to pick the heads of grain means “to reap”, while crushing them in their hands signifies “to thresh”: these agricultural tasks —and some forty other— were forbidden on the Sabbath, as a day of rest. As we already know, the breads of offering the Gospel speaks of, were twelve breads that were placed every week in the sanctuary table, as a tribute from the twelve tribes of Israel to their God and Lord.
The less important precepts of the Law have to give way before the most important ones; a ceremonial precept has to give way to a precept of the natural law; the precept of resting on the Sabbath should not, therefore, prevail over the basic needs of subsistence. The II Vatican Council, was inspired by the previous example, and to underline that people have to prevail over economic and social questions, says: «Social order and its progressive development have to subordinate always to persons' welfare, because things are made for man and not the other way round. The Lord pointed it out already when He said the Sabbath was made for man and not man for the Sabbath (cf. Mk 2:27)».
What about us? Like the Pharisees in today's passage, some of us have devoted years of our lives studying the Scriptures. Yet there are always deeper levels of meaning in the Word of God not yet open to us. Are we content with our current understanding of the Bible? Jesus longs to open our minds to the understanding of the Scriptures (see Lk 24:45), but we must desire understanding and wisdom. It's hard for Jesus to open if we don't bother to knock. Jesus says: "Knock, and it will be opened to you" (Mt 7:7).
Stay rooted in God's Word. Read and study it daily (Acts 17:11). Beg the Lord for an ever deeper desire to sit with Him and listen to His word (Lk 10:39). Whenever possible, read the daily Scriptures , mediate on them when praying the Rosary , and contemplate them when attending Eucharistic Adoration in the presence of Jesus, the Living Word (Heb 4:12), Who will unlock His word for you.
May God's word be the joy and the happiness of your heart (Jer 15:16).