“Have you never read…?”

Today we continue in Mark (2:23-28) where we left off yesterday.  Again Jesus and His disciples suffer the complaints of the Pharisees — this time for picking heads of grain and eating them on the Sabbath.  Jesus berates them for not recalling that David, considered by all Jews to be their greatest king, did something that would be far more egregious in their eyes: eating the bread of the presence reserved solely, by law, for the priests.  While Jesus certainly did not endear Himself to the Pharisees here, He taught them (and teaches us) an important lesson about reading scripture.  An important element of understanding divine revelation is an appreciation of the “content and unity of the whole of Scripture if the meaning of the sacred texts is to be correctly worked out.” (Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation, 12)  The Pharisees were very comfortable in meticulously following the 613 laws they found in scripture.  But they did not appreciate the larger context into which these fell.  So to for us, we must be very careful of prooftexting or isolating certain scripture passages with which we are comfortable while downplaying or ignoring those that do not fit our understanding or liking.  Fortunately, Jesus established three legs of divine revelation on which we are to stand: Scripture, Sacred Tradition, and the teaching office of the Church (the Magisterium).  Parse or ignore these at your own peril.

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