Beware, so long as you live, of judging men by their outward appearance. - Jean de La Fontaine: (1621-1695: French poet)
Gospel Text: (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.”
In the Gospel, Jesus and the disciples are walking through a field, and some of the guys pick some grain. The Pharisees complain that they are breaking the Sabbath laws by working – harvesting grain. Jesus says that even David, when he and his companions were hungry, ate the offering bread. That was bread that was sacred and to be eaten only by the priests, but David as king used it when they were starving. Their need superseded the law. Jesus says that he supersedes the law.
The Lord sees into the hearts of the people and knows their intent. And the intent of the law is different from the letter of the law. Yes, people should give the Sabbath day to the Lord, but should still be able to feed themselves when necessary. There is a difference between abusing the law and acting out of necessity. And the Lord who can look into people’s hearts can tell that difference. “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.” The Sabbath allows people a day of rest and the opportunity to praise the Lord. It is for the people’s benefit.
The Lord looks into our hearts and sees what we truly are. He sees the king in the shepherd boy. He sees the hunger in the grain-pickers. He sees our abilities when we cannot and knows our hopes and fears. Appearances can be deceiving. But the Lord sees what is true.
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