January 17, 2017
Memorial of Saint Anthony, Abbot
The Gospel Today
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.”
REFLECTION (Sem. Keith R. Buenaventura)
One of the changes in my life that I needed to deal with when I became a seminarian is the strictness of rules and regulations of the seminary formation. When I was still working and living with my family, I used to do whatever I wanted. At first, when I started living in the seminary, I found the rules rather cumbersome and inconvenient, but later on I realized that rules have a purpose why they were in place.
They are meant to help us seminarians who need black-and -white instructions to what needs to be done and what needs to be observed. More than that, the rules also help us know where we are in our spiritual life, and to find direction in our relationship with God.
Our God is not a God of laws and commandments. He is a God of relationships, and Jesus is the expression of that relationship. And since Jesus is the lord of the Sabbath, which is a holy day, then He is leading us into a holy relationship with God and with our neighbor. It is in this holy relationship that we will fully understand the laws and commandments.
It is important to know the teachings of Jesus and what the Church tells us to do and not to do. Yet it is even more important to know who God is. In the Gospel, our Lord Jesus said that the Sabbath is made for man and not man for Sabbath. This could mean that things are made for man and not man for things. When we use all things for the glory of God, then following the rules, laws and commandments will point to just one thing, that is, knowing Jesus and building a holy relationship with Him.