2nd Week of Ordinary Time (22nd January, 2019)
First Reading: Heb 6:10-20
Gospel: Mk 2:23-28
Today we have a famous saying in the Gospel. It says, “Sabbath was made for man and not man was made for Sabbath. This saying arose in the wake of accusations the Pharisees had on the disciples for plucking the corn on the Sabbath day. The Pharisees obviously considered even that act equal to harvesting the harvesting was one of the strictly forbidden acts to be done on a Sabbath day. In fact, the disciples never had the intention of doing a harvest but only ate the heads of the corns as they were walking through the fields. Jesus in his reply to the challenge question of Pharisees on disciples cites an example from the Old Testament. It is about the act of David who, along with his followers at the loaves of offerings bread kept in the house of God. This bread was to be eaten by the high priest alone. Then he remarks saying, “Sabbath was made for man and not man for the Sabbath” What does it mean?
We know that Sabbath is an event that was created after God created man. Hence undoubtedly, the creation of man takes before God made the Sabbath. Evidently Sabbath becomes a means to serve mankind i.e., for his welfare: physical, mental and spiritual. It is ordained to be a means to be sanctified so that we keep His day holy as He commanded. Therefore, the original intention of God was to help man become more holy by dedication the Sabbath for God’s worship and his physical rest. But the Pharisees on the other hand turned the table other way i.e. he placed the Sabbath before man. They make it more important than welfare of people. Therefore, it became unacceptable for them that any work could be done even if it was meant for the welfare of human being so the confrontations arise between Jesus and his disciple when he cured any one on the Sabbath day.
By making Sabbath subject to man, God gives protection to life as well as welfare of mankind. For Jesus intends that man becomes a whole person fully perfect physically, mentally and spiritually. In the course of making man whole and perfect, Jesus does not want that the norm of Sabbath does not become hurdle. It includes physical well being too. And so, Jesus justifies the example of David and his followers’ deed of acting bread kept in the house of the Lord meant for priests alone. So, it becomes only lawful to eat rather than to starve oneself. Thus, what Jesus intends to tell us is man is first and the Sabbath is only next to man. Amen.