Saturday of the 22nd Week of the Year

Luke 6:1-5

Debates about the Sabbath


There is a saying that “in every family there is a black sheep” and this does not exclude the Christian family. There are people who will always condemn everything one does. They do not see anything good in anybody except themselves. If a good deed is coming from someone else, they will see a fault in it, they will question the motive for such goodness or they will read a negative motive behind that goodness.

Similarly in the gospel, Jesus is criticized by the Pharisees for allowing his disciples to pluck corn on the Sabbath. He quickly comes to their rescue and defends them. The Pharisees always looked for “faults” about Jesus. The moment they see Jesus their antenna for detecting faults are alerted. Jesus condemns this attitude faults of the Pharisees.

Today we find many Christians who are guilty of this. Our Parish priests are being slandered, disrespected and all kinds of evil said about them. But we must always know they remain the people who look after us spiritually. Let us, like Jesus, take a positive look at the people we relate with.

The Sabbath day still remains holy. There are those who are confused as to which day is the Sabbath. The early church transferred the practice of the Sabbath to Sunday, since that is the day of resurrection of the Lord. In our present culture Sunday is becoming like any other day of the week. For many it is a regular working day. What is my way of observing Sunday? Do I still keep the Lord’s Day holy? Do I prefer to do some works on Sunday at the neglect of going to church? How do I help others keep the Lord’s day holy? (Fr. Tony Amissah, SVD Bible Diary 2004)


One of my relatives died and they requested me to celebrate Mass. When I arrived the room was dirty. I asked my cousin why nobody cleaned up and he said that it was bad luck to sweep the floor when the dead is still in the house. I volunteered to do the sweeping, to show them that I did not believe in silly superstitions. But my cousin stopped me and declared that bad luck might not touch me, being a priest, but it would surely strike one of the immediate relatives. The Mass was celebrated in a dirty room.

The Pharisees in the gospel today clung to silly commandments, and yet, they were ready to put lawbreakers to death. For them laws were to be obeyed not to be questioned. Here’s a modern commentary regarding laws and obedience: “A respect for God which would destroy our critical sense would not be in keeping with the gospel; a religion preventing us from seeking the truth and from questioning every area of human restlessness would not be the true one. To study the Bible without daring to know and take into account the contributions of modern science for fear that one very naïve vision of sacred history would fall apart would be to sin against the Spirit” (Bible, pastoral ed., on Lk 6).

Jesus came to witness to the supreme importance of life created in God’s likeness. Laws must not obstruct life’s journey to its fullness, life’s journey to God. Even Sabbath must contribute to the flow of life, not otherwise. Jesus, who came to bring fullness to life, would therefore declare, “The Son of man is Lord and rules over the Sabbath.” (Fr. Atilano Corcuera, SVD Bible Diary 2005)


We are dealing here with an originally divine law which became vitiated by human interpretations and petty restrictions.

The third commandment, Keep the Lord’s day holy, was intended for the benefit of God’s people – to give them rest, to give the time and opportunity to worship the Lord. “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.”

In Jesus’ time the religious leaders and authorities (scribes, Pharisees) went to the other extreme of over-legislating, of multiplying minute restrictions and shackling prohibitions. Since a commandment could be broken, they made sure that just as we insure that a fragile object does not break we surround it with padding, so the religious legislators enveloped this Sabbath commandment with multitude of “protective” restrictions. For example, on the Sabbath Jew could take only 2,000 steps. So, the whole Sabbath he was just counting his steps!

What was divinely intended to set the human spirit free to soar to heavenly heights degenerated into its enslavement, its grounding in the heaviness of ritualistic details. It was a thing of beauty that had turned ugly.

In another context Jesus condemns this perversion: “You have nullified the Word of God for the sake of your tradition,” (Matt 15:6).

How often do we degrade God’s life-giving Word by our endless garrulous human pontifications and scrupulous hair-splitting legislations?

Would to God we proclaim the life-giving Spirit of the Father’s Word, incarnate in the Commandment! ( Fr. Willy Villegas, SVD Bible Diary 2006)


God created the world in six days and on the seventh day he rested (Gen 1:2-2:3) the Sabbath rest therefore is an institution of divine origin. In order to preserve it, the Jews prohibited thirty-nine kinds of work on this day. So when the disciples plucked heads of grain along the way, the Pharisees saw the action as a violation of the Sabbath. The Pharisees considered it as a five-fold breach of the Sabbath: the plucking was ‘reaping,’ rubbing the grains between the hands was ‘threshing,’ blowing the chaff away was, ‘winnowing,’ holding the grains in one’s hand was, ‘bearing a burden,’ and ‘preparing  a meal!’ Complicated, isn’t it?

What does the commandment, “Keep holy the Sabbath” require of us? Or better yet, what is the primary intention behind this command? The Sabbath rest was meant to be a time to remember and celebrate God’s goodness and the goodness of his work both in creation and redemption. It was intended to bring everyday work to a halt and to provide needed rest and refreshment. So Jesus’ disciples were scolded by the scribes and Pharisees, not for plucking and eating corn from the fields, but for doing so on the Sabbath.

In defending His disciples, Jesus asserts that human need has precedence over ritual custom. Citing an example from Sacred Scriptures, he reminds them of what David and his companions did. In their hunger, they ate the bread of offering which only the priest can lawfully eat. Then he concludes with these words, “The Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.” The Church is not bound by the Sabbath rule; it is bound to Christ who interprets for the Church.

Do you honor the Lord in the way you treat your neighbor and celebrate the Lord’s Day? Seek the good of your neighbor in all situations with respect and kindness. Honor the Lord in your work and in your rest. (Fr. Alej Plaza, SVD Bible Diary 2008)


According to St. Paul, the whole purpose of Christ’s mission was to reconcile us sinful people to God through the suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus. By His suffering and death, God proved His love for us. By His resurrection, Christ has shown that He has conquered every opposing power and there is nothing in life or in death that can bind him. This entitles Him to supreme lordship.

In the gospel when Jesus declared before the Pharisees that, “the Son of man is Lord of the Sabbath,” He was making a point: human need should override bare legalism. The Law of Moses is not intended to make life harder for man but to help man. Salvation of man is not gained through fulfilling every letter of the law by sheer human effort.

We now regard Sunday as the “Day of the Lord” and no longer Sabbath which is a Saturday because Sunday is the day we celebrate the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. Every Sunday is a celebration of our reconciliation with God. Going to Sunday worship therefore is not only a fulfilment of an obligation but also a joyful experience of the resurrection event. The celebration makes us closer to God and to one another. We are the people who received God’s love and mercy and so, we must be a loving and merciful people ourselves. (Fr. Jun de Ocampo, SVD Bible Diary 2009)


September 3, 2016 Saturday

An oft repeated comment about Sunday Eucharistic celebrations is “It’s boring!” Even those brought up as Catholics and the Mass devoid of anima – a lifeless celebration. Has Sunday worship lost its relevance?

The early church justified its own worship by choosing the first day of the week (Sunday) to observe the Sabbath. Sabbath for the Jews was a consecrated and blessed day (Ex 28: 8-11), a day of liberation when God assured them of their deliverance from slavery.

In North America, people work in shifts, even on Sundays. Sundays no longer hold a prime (sacred) importance like they used to. Sundays mean work for professional athletes, working students, and parents who go shopping and attend to family gatherings.

How do we show these people that Sunday is still relevant? What opportunities can we provide to renew them? Sunday Eucharistic celebrations in malls have long been practiced in the Philippines and in parts of Canada. Masses have also been celebrated in stadiums before some NFL pre-season games. Such opportunities for renewal need not be in the church. Sunday evening Masses are also becoming popular and in demand. Christianity has now transitioned itself into a new time, a new setting, and with a new crowd. History has shown that Christians nd a way to celebrate and to worship God.

Reforms imply that changes are possible. After all Christianity is not a rigid and joyless religion.

What we need to ask is: how can we contribute to enhancing the prophetic dimension of the Sunday celebration? In Luke 6:6-11, Jesus healed a man with a withered hand, on a Sabbath no less, by simply saying: “Stretch out your hand!” Is it possible for us to stretch not only our hand but also our imagination with regard to the days or the ways we worship God? (Fr. Joey Miras, SVD Toronto, Canada Bible Diary 2016)


Saturday, September 5, 2015

SATURDAY OF THE 22ND WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME (YEAR B) – LUKAS 6:1-5. HANGTOD KANUS-A MAN NATO SUNDON ANG MGA BALAOD? Sa ordinaryong kahimtang, ang mga maayong balaod angay gayod nga sundon. Kini tungod kay ang mga balaod gihimo man alang sa kaayohan ug kalamboan sa tawo. Apan, kon ugaling ang usa ka balaod mahimong babag sa kaluwasan sa tawo, dili na kini angay’ng tumanon. Kini ang gitudlo ni Kristo pinaagi sa pagtugot sa mga tinun-an sa pagpangutlog mga uhay sa trigo bisan tuod adlaw kadto nga Igpapahulay aron sila makakaon. Sa samang paagi, mahimo nato ang pagtrabaho sa Adlaw nga Domingo kon adunay seryosong hinungdan sa pagbuhat niini, sama sa pagluwas og kinabuhi sa mga tawo. Kining ebanghelyo dili unta magdasig kanato sa pagsupak sa mga balaod kondili sa pagsabot sa espiritu ug katuyoan sa matag usa niini. Posted by Abet Uy



Friday, September 4, 2015

Reflection for September 5, Saturday of the Twenty-second Week in Ordinary Time: Luke 6:1-5

Reflection: If God is with us who will be against us?

There are times in our life that we are hindered of doing something that is noble because we fear the judgment of our fellowmen. For example, a young lady suddenly had an unwanted pregnancy. Since she was still young her mother wanted her to abort her child. But the lady rightfully stood her ground. She went through her pregnancy (which was the right action to do) and gave birth.

While the disciples were picking grains some Pharisees admonished them because it was their day of rest or Sabbath day. But Jesus reproved the ever critical Pharisees by citing what David did (Eat the bread offering which was exclusively for the priest). Then, Jesus topped HIS rebuke of the Pharisees by saying that HE is over and above their Sabbath law.

The rule that Jesus’ follows is this: Our need/s takes precedence over any laws even the sabbath law. Come to think of it, what good would it do us if we follow the law/s but in the process of following it we become hungry, we get weak and die? – Marino J. Dasmarinas


Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Reflection for Saturday September 3, Saint Gregory the Great, Pope and Doctor; Luke 6:1-5

Reflection: What kind of Lord and Master is Jesus? He is a loving and caring Lord and Master, He will always see to it that His people are properly taken care of no matter what the circumstances are. If there’s a need and a precedence to violate certain laws so be it for as long as it could help His people.

When Jesus defended His disciples from the rebuke of the Pharisees (From picking and eating grains on a Sabbath day) He was simply saying that the need of His disciples always takes precedence over any observance of the Jewish law/s.

Jesus was indirectly saying to His critics that they sometimes have to be flexible also anyway they did not commit any criminal act. The disciples were simply hungry and that was it they simply have to satisfy their need.  In fact King David also did that in the old testament as told to them by Jesus(1 Samuel 21:2-7).

Here we see what kind of Lord and Master Jesus is, He properly takes care of His people. Jesus is even willing to violate the sacred Sabbath law for as long as it would be beneficial to His followers. By virtue of our baptism we already are followers of Jesus we may not be faithful to Him all the time. Nevertheless, His love, care and concern for us will always be there by our side no matter the circumstances we are in. – Marino J. Dasmarinas


September 5, 2015

Saturday of the 22nd Week in the Ordinary Time B

Col 1: 21-23, Lk 6: 1-5 

The Laws of Sabbath

The confrontation between Jesus and his bitter enemies continues in today’s Gospel passage. The Pharisees follow Jesus as his shadow. It is not to hear and learn from his teachings, but to catch him wrong in his teachings and more over to find fault in his actions. They are finding faults with him and searching for proof so that they can legally take action against him. Here in this passage they get a fine chance.

The disciples are hungry and weary. While walking they pluck the heads of grains and eat. Remember the day is a Sabbath. The disciples are violating the Sabbath law. Adding to it, their master Jesus is not scolding them. Naturally the legalistic Pharisee is angry.

I remember a joke I recently read, “…in which the four types of government were compared, using two cows. Socialism would have you give one of your cows to your neighbor and keep the other. Communism would insist that you give both cows to the state, and occasionally you might be fortunate enough to get a little milk or butter. Nazism would shoot you and take both of your cows. In a Democracy you would sell one cow and buy a bull.” To this one more category can be added, ie; Legalism. ‘Legalism would lay down so many rules and regulations concerning the keeping of cows that nobody would want them anyway’

The legalist in Pharisee asks the question: “Why are you doing what is not lawful to do on the Sabbath?” And precisely to this question Jesus gives the answer. He makes it clear what is “lawful” and what is “not lawful” on the Sabbath. There lies the difference between Jesus and the Pharisee. For a Pharisee the written law and the oral traditions hold equally valid. The law has to be observed literally. To Jesus, Law in itself is meaningless. Law acquires meaning so far as it upholds the human dignity. That is the purpose of law.

In this background Jesus completely backs the stance of his disciples. They eat the grains of wheat because they are hungry. For a hungry man the greatest law is his hunger. Human needs acquire the first place in the “law of Jesus”. In his interpretation he places himself above the Sabbath law saying, “Son of Man is the Lord of the Sabbath”. Human needs have precedence over ritual customs in the teaching of Jesus.

He is not denying or abolishing the law of Sabbath, rather he reinterprets it for the benefit of man. He expands it so that it can be of benefit to the common man. Any “ism” and ideology that belittles the human dignity is not acceptable to Jesus. He sets aside the laws of Sabbath just as David set aside the laws of sacred bread, and both for a common purpose: “human need.” The divine laws and their interpretations should turn out to be blessings to human beings. They should not become burdens to the already over- burdened common man. Dr Martin Mallathu CMI


Saturday of the 22nd Week in Ordinary Time

1 Cor 4: 6b-15; Lk 6:1-5


Any civilized society needs laws for the well being of its members. One of the main objectives of laws is to protect the rights of the individuals. Lawlessness leads to anarchy. At the same time laws are not end in themselves. They are only means for ensuring the rights of the members as well for contributing to the common well being. Hence laws are not static. They have to change according to emerging needs or new challenges because most of the laws are made in a particular context for meeting certain needs. The change of situation and of the needs very often necessitates the change of Laws. The constitution of Indian is amended more than 80 times to respond to the emerging needs and challenges of the country. The statement of Jesus “Sabbath was made for the good of man; man was not made for the Sabbath” clearly endorses this liberal view about law.

At the time of Jesus the Jewish leaders, the Scribes and Pharisees, held just the opposite view about law. For them law was sacrosanct and they interpreted the laws literally. They interpreted the law on Sabbath in such way that picking the ears of corn, rubbing them and eating the grain was a violation of Sabbath. The laws include not only the written ones but also the unwritten ones. In any religion or society there are many unwritten laws in the form of traditions and practices which are sometimes more oppressive than the written law. At the time of Jesus law was an oppressive for the ordinary people.

Laws are liberally understood and interpreted in a civil society. But in the case of religion the fundamentalists interpret laws literally and create an oppressive situation. Taliban is excellent example for fundamentalist interpretation of laws. Many of us have heard about the heroic struggle of Malala Yusufsai, a Pakistani girl who was shot fatally by the Taliban for championing the cause of women’s education. The girl who escaped from the jaws of death has become a symbol of struggle against religious fundamentalism. Persons with the fundamentalist streak can be found in all religions.  Once a priest denied Holy Communion to a woman who did not cover her head. The history of Taliban shows how religious fundamentalism can lead to terrorism. Religious fundamentalism is not only threat to religious freedom but also a threat to world peace. Today’s Gospel reminds us of our responsibility to fight against fundamentalist trends in all religions. Fr. Jacob Peenikaparambil CMI


FATHER IN CHRIST – One time, a woman who regularly attends the Masses I celebrate asked a weird request. She invited me to be part of the ceremonial dance at her daughter’s debut. When I asked why, she said, “Father, my daughter regularly attends Mass with me. She lost her father when we separated when she was 14. She feels nourished every time she is at Mass and she considers you her spiritual father.”

It was one of those moments when God makes me realize the meaning of my vocation as a priest. I am called to be a spiritual father. I am called “Father” because my vocation is to bring forth children in the faith. Indeed my vocation gives me the privilege to father countless children in the faith.

In today’s First Reading, Paul wrote a very frank letter to his community at Corinth. He spoke of the sweet burden he and Apollos willingly bore for their sake. There are words of admonition and chastisement. There are also words of correction and encouragement. The letter ended with Paul saying, “I do not write this to make you ashamed, but to admonish you as my beloved children. For though you have countless guides in Christ, you do not have many fathers. For I became your father in Christ Jesus through the gospel” (verses 14-15).

Fatherhood is not merely biological. Neither is it financial providence. In my years in the ministry, I have spoken to countless young people who I realized are so poor because the only thing they have is money. Fatherhood, in its essence, is bringing out the man in every child. That requires presence, modeling and sacrifice — precisely the virtues Paul spoke of in describing how he has fathered his community to maturity in Christ.

Times are hard indeed. Money is not easy to come by. Though well intentioned, it is very easy to fall into the temptation that the providence we give our children determines the quality of our parenthood to them. In truth, the values we give our children are far more important than the valuables we give them. Fr. Joel Jason

REFLECTION QUESTIONS: How is the quality of your parenthood? Have you given thanks to the many fathers and mothers in the faith that God has given you?

God our Father, draw and mold all fathers and mothers according to Your heart. Amen.


September 3, 2016

REFLECTION: Some laws of God have to be obeyed in all circumstances and by all, because to break those laws would amount to commit what moral theologians call an “intrinsic evil.” Such evil, for example, would be ethnic cleansing (cf. GS 80), direct abortion (cf. GS 51), infanticide (cf. GS 51), murder, adultery, oppression of the poor, etc. But such absolute laws are rare. What we have are laws which admit of exceptions, depending on one’s circumstances. Today’s gospel reading gives two examples where breaking the law is acceptable when there is an urgent human need to satisfy, such as hunger. Now, because it is sometimes permissible to break some laws (either of God, of the Church, of the State, etc.), some Christians are confused and never know when they can or cannot break a given law.

One basic principle should guide them in this moral minefield. And it is this one: what is the purpose of this law? Once that is clearly answered, then they can act in consequence, trusting that the legislator, who could not foresee every possible contingency, would not want his law to become unreasonably burdensome. When this is the case, people can disregard that law with a peaceful ­conscience.


Today’s Readings:  Year I,   Year II

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