A reading of the holy Gospel according to Matthew 12:1-8
Jesus was going through a field of grain on the sabbath.
His disciples were hungry
and began to pick the heads of grain and eat them.
When the Pharisees saw this, they said to him,
"See, your disciples are doing what is unlawful to do on the sabbath."
He said to them, "Have you not read what David did
when he and his companions were hungry,
how he went into the house of God and ate the bread of offering,
which neither he nor his companions
but only the priests could lawfully eat?
Or have you not read in the law that on the sabbath
the priests serving in the temple violate the sabbath
and are innocent?
I say to you, something greater than the temple is here.
If you knew what this meant, I desire mercy, not sacrifice,
you would not have condemned these innocent men.
For the Son of Man is Lord of the sabbath."
REFLECTION: "I desire mercy, not sacrifice..."
One day we will see Jesus face to face. Here on earth He has given us the Sabbath to celebrate Him, to rest and to thank Him for all He has done for us. It was intended to bring the busyness of life to a halt and to rest in His Spirit.
This particular day, His disciples were hungry on the Sabbath and so they plucked wheat. This was considered work and therefore He and His disciples were chastised by the Pharisees. However, human kindness and mercy are more important than the sacrifice of not eating or working. Jesus is on call 24/7, He does not clock in or out but is present always, especially when we cry out to Him.
Jesus quotes Hosea from the Old Testament, "I desire mercy, not sacrifice..." In Hosea the Lord wants us to return to HIm, and He will bind our wounds. He desires loyalty and not sacrifice, and wants us to have knowledge of Him. God does not spurn the sinners, nor does He cast away the addicts, nor does He discard the homeless, the lepers,the demented or the elderly nor the unwanted babies.
May our priests show us mercy and guide us to Jesus. May their vocation bring them to the love of God's children, always endeavoring to serve them. May we in turn not live Sunday as a day of only being with family but of being of service to those in need. How do you share God's love to others? Do we show merciful service to others? Do we drive people to church? Are we Eucharistic ministers to the homebound?