Memory of the Mother of the Lord

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The week of prayer for Christian unity begins. Particular memory for the Catholic Church.

Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The Spirit of the Lord is upon you.
The child you shall bear will be holy.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Mark 2, 23-28

It happened that one Sabbath day he was taking a walk through the cornfields, and his disciples began to make a path by plucking ears of corn.

And the Pharisees said to him, 'Look, why are they doing something on the Sabbath day that is forbidden?'

And he replied, 'Have you never read what David did in his time of need when he and his followers were hungry-

how he went into the house of God when Abiathar was high priest, and ate the loaves of the offering which only the priests are allowed to eat, and how he also gave some to the men with him?'

And he said to them, 'The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath;

so the Son of man is master even of the Sabbath.'


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Look down, O Lord, on your servants.
Be it unto us according to your word.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

After the discussion about fasting we heard yesterday, the evangelist Mark describes the controversy about the Sabbath. The Pharisees see that Jesus’ disciples, while walking through a cornfield on a Sabbath, pluck heads of grain to eat, and by doing so, they were breaking the law of the Sabbath rest. The parallel passage in Matthew specifies why they did this: the disciples "were hungry" (Mt 12:1). Immediately, the Pharisees accuse the Teacher of allowing his disciples to break the law. But Jesus defends his disciples and refers to a similar episode that happened to David. While fleeing from Saul, who wanted to kill him, David entered the temple and together with his companions, ate the blessed bread reserved for the priests. And Jesus adds: "The Sabbath was made for humankind, and not humankind for the Sabbath!" This statement is already present in the Jewish tradition. Various rabbis taught that an exaggerated religiosity could endanger the fulfilment of the essence of the law. One of them said: "According to the Torah, nothing is more important than saving human life ... Even when there is only the slightest possibility of risking a life, any prohibition of the law can be neglected." Jesus never violated the holiness of the Sabbath. If anything, with authority, as in this occasion, gives the correct interpretation. In sum, he shows what truly counts in the law, which is humankind salvation. People and their salvation are in the very heart of Scriptures. Indeed, the Lord has created the world and sent his Son for the sake of humankind, to save them from sin and death. Therefore, believers are not called primarily to follow some rules, but rather to answer God’s love and live with love towards others. This gospel page shows how much Jesus cares about human beings’ salvation. This is why he came to earth; as the evangelist John writes: "For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life" (Jan 3:16). This is why the Son of Man is the Lord, even of Sabbath: he came to save and not to condemn. And he asks each of us to follow him along this path, the path of love.