“Why are they doing what is unlawful on the sabbath?”

Jesus and His disciples are caught by the Pharisees passing through a field picking heads of grain on the sabbath (Mk 2:23-28).  Jesus’ reply when confronted about this “unlawful” behavior is to point to the scripture where David and his men, being hungry, ate of the bread of offering that could only be lawfully eaten by priests (1 Sam 21:2-7).  Jesus concludes by telling them that the sabbath was made for man and, as Son of Man, He is lord of the sabbath.  This passage offers us the opportunity to consider the Christian sabbath: Sunday, the day of the Lord’s resurrection.  How do we honor this day?  Mass, of course, is required (either on the day or in anticipation on Saturday).  But, aside from the strictly obligatory, we should use it as a day of rest and reflection.  It should not be a day, unless extraordinary circumstances warrant it, of shopping, heavy or noisy yard work, or any other very demanding physical or mental exertion that does not keep with the spirit of our faith (if you must do so, listen to Catholic programs or podcasts to feed the mind and enrich the soul).  But even if absolutely necessary to engage in such activities, some significant time should be said aside for rest, relaxation, good spiritual reading or related audio or video programs.  The body needs rest, the mind needs to be refreshed, we need to reconnect to God and family.  Highly recommended is John Paul II’s Apostolic Letter, Dies Domini, in giving clear understanding and renewed appreciation for this most important day of the week.  Giving the Lord quality time always redounds in manifold benefits to us and all those we love and encounter.

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