Faith Daily |16 July 2021
PRAYER of the DAY - PENTECOST APBA p561
O Lord, we beseech you
mercifully to receive the prayers of your people
who call upon you,
and grant that they may both perceive and know
what things they ought to do,
and also may have grace and power
faithfully to fulfill them;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
GOSPEL for the Day: Matthew 12: 1-8
At that time Jesus went through the grainfields on the sabbath; his disciples were hungry, and they began to pluck heads of grain and to eat. 2When the Pharisees saw it, they said to him, “Look, your disciples are doing what is not lawful to do on the sabbath.” 3He said to them, “Have you not read what David did when he and his companions were hungry? 4He entered the house of God and ate the bread of the Presence, which it was not lawful for him or his companions to eat, but only for the priests. 5Or have you not read in the law that on the sabbath the priests in the temple break the sabbath and yet are guiltless? 6I tell you, something greater than the temple is here. 7But if you had known what this means, ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the guiltless. 8For the Son of Man is lord of the sabbath.”
GOSPEL Reflection: Contributed by: Paul McLoughlin
Most of us have in our lives encountered bureaucracy, that overly structured system of rules, policies, procedures and hierarchies. We know the frustrations that engagement with bureaucracy can cause. The Pharisees were the bureaucracy of Jesus’ time and the Torah was their rulebook. One of the weaknesses of that system was an inability to adapt to change and Jesus was a change agent.
It seems that Jesus always has the Pharisees looking over his shoulder and scrutinising his every move and finding non-compliance with the law. In today’s reading they are coming down hard on his disciples for breaking the rules of the Sabbath, by plucking and eating heads of grain, and holding Jesus responsible.
Jesus challenges their authority and counters with an argument that the hunger of his followers outweighs tradition, that need supersedes protocol. Further, he asserts that the priests themselves are guilty of breaking the Sabbath under certain circumstances and naturally none of this endears him any more to his critics. And anyway, says Jesus, he is “lord of the sabbath”. He has authority, given by the one who sent him, over the sabbath and is not controlled by it. Rather, he controls the law. His interpretation of it exempts him from their force.
FINAL PRAYER: 2011, Linda C. Moore (abridged)
This is an old hymn, from the Protestant Reformation. The words were written by Martin Luther. It was translated into English long enough ago that it contains the archaic language what is called "the King's English".
1 Lord of the Sabbath and its light, I hail Thy hallowed day of rest; It is my weary soul’s delight, The solace of my care worn breast, The solace of my care worn breast.
2 O sacred day of peace and joy, Thy hours are ever dear to me; Ne’er may a sinful thought destroy The holy calm I find in thee, The holy calm I find in thee.
3 How sweetly now they glide along! How hallowed is the calm they yield! Transporting is their rapturous song, And heavenly visions seem revealed, And heavenly visions seem revealed.
4 O Jesus, let me ever hail Thy presence with the day of rest; Then will Thy servant never fail To deem Thy Sabbath doubly blest, To deem Thy Sabbath doubly blest.