Lord of the Sabbath

In today’s Gospel from St. Luke, Jesus is admonished by the Pharisees when they see his disciples picking heads of grain and eating them on the Sabbath. Jesus responds by telling them that “The Son of Man is lord of the Sabbath.”

Like the Pharisees, we periodically need reminders of what it means to truly honor the Sabbath. The life, death and resurrection of Jesus give the Sabbath new meaning for Christians. Pope Benedict XVI observed that “living in accordance with the Lord’s Day” (to use St. Ignatius’ phrase) means “living in awareness of the liberation brought by Christ and making our lives a constant self-offering to God, so that his victory may be fully revealed to all humanity through a profoundly renewed existence.”

One problem with rules like the Pharisees imposed is that they focused simply on rules that treated the Sabbath differently, for saying certain things could or could not be done on the Sabbath. Although, I don’t want to minimize the importance of setting aside the Sabbath as a special day (and I’ve posted on other occasions about doing so), Pope Benedict reminds us that the Sabbath is “defined by something more than the simple suspension of one’s ordinary activities.” Instead, “living in accordance with the Lord’s Day…emphasizes that this holy day becomes paradigmatic for every other day of the week.”

For Christians, every day is the Lord’s Day.

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