Homily for Tuesday of the 2nd Week in Ordinary Time Year II
Theme: The Essence of Sabbath
By: Fr. Benny Tuazon
Homily for Tuesday January 20 2020
(Mk. 2:23-28) Tuesday of the Second Week in Ordinary Time
In today’s Gospel Jesus reveals the true essence of the Sabbath in particular and laws in general. He clarified that His disciples need not fast because He was with them. Fasting was used to await the coming of the Lord and other intentions asking for graces. In as much as Jesus, the Messiah and Son of God is already with the disciples, they were exempted. Of course, as far as the Pharisees were concerned, this was a violation of the Jewish Law. Jesus was not being a good Jew.
Was He? Apparently not. Jesus took advantage of the situation to clarify to the Pharisees what they had been doing wrong. As I have mentioned in the reflection yesterday, from the ten commandments, 603 more precepts emerged. In the process, the spirit of the law had been set aside and the additional laws became the matter.
Jesus wanted to remind them that it is not about mere following the laws nor just the fulfilment even of those additional laws. The fact that He summarised them in just two laws; love of God and love neighbor as oneself, revealed their true essence, that is, their spirit. Lawyers follow a certain dictum in Latin, “dura lex sed lex”, which means, “the law maybe harsh but that is the law”. “Throwing the books at them” becomes the easiest and regular resort of those who are so legalistic and could not argue base on merits and evidence. In the process, some are set free by technicalities. Justice is therefore deprived.
This is what Jesus was going against, precisely. The law was made for man and not vice versa. Laws should benefit the welfare of man. Not all situations are covered by the law.
There will always be an exception. Jesus cited the time when David and his men ate the bread only for the priests. That time, the bread were needed for sustenance by David’s men. Why would David let his men die of hunger when bread were available?
Bottom line is the common good. God meant the good of everyone. Good here is more than physical or material sustenance. It is connected with faith and salvation. David and his men were fighting the battle of God. Since eating the bread reserved for the priests are available, they were breaking laws but fulfilling the spirit of the law