Memory of Jesus crucified

Share On

Memorial of the prophet Elijah who was taken into heaven and left his mantle to Elisha.


Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

This is the Gospel of the poor,
liberation for the imprisoned,
sight for the blind,
freedom for the oppressed.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Matthew 12,1-8

At that time Jesus went through the cornfields one Sabbath day. His disciples were hungry and began to pick ears of corn and eat them. The Pharisees noticed it and said to him, 'Look, your disciples are doing something that is forbidden on the Sabbath.' But he said to them, 'Have you not read what David did when he and his followers were hungry- how he went into the house of God and they ate the loaves of the offering although neither he nor his followers were permitted to eat them, but only the priests? Or again, have you not read in the Law that on the Sabbath day the Temple priests break the Sabbath without committing any fault? Now here, I tell you, is something greater than the Temple. And if you had understood the meaning of the words: Mercy is what pleases me, not sacrifice, you would not have condemned the blameless. For the Son of man is master of the Sabbath.'

 

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The Son of Man came to serve,
whoever wants to be great
should become servant of all.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The Pharisees never lose any opportunity to think ill of Jesus, and his disciples, and to accuse him. The behaviour of the Pharisees resembles that of those who are afraid of evil but search for it in others rather than in themselves. The Pharisees consider that they save themselves by blaming others. They notice the speck in the eye of another but are unable to remove the beam in their own eyes. They judge, but do not love; they watch, but do not help. In fact, they remain indifferent to the request of the suffering for forgiveness and healing. They reproach Jesus because he allows his disciples to pick some heads of grain on their way, on the Sabbath. The Teacher replies with two examples that show the meanness and blindness of their hearts. Moreover, he reaffirms, through Hosea's words, the breadth of God's heart: ‘I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice,' (Hos 6:6). The Lord does not desire cold and exterior compliance with rules; instead he desires the believer's heart. This is not lack of respect for the law. Compassion, however, is above rules. Compassion is a gift to be asked from God, since it isn't a matter of character or skills, it comes from God. Actually, that dimension has always been present in biblical revelation. In some Jewish commentaries, for example, you can read: "The Sabbath was given to you, rather than you to the Sabbath." According to some commentators, rabbis were aware that an exaggerated zeal could endanger the fulfilment of the essence of the Law: "Nothing is more important, according to the Torah, than to save human lives...even when the chance of losing a life is tiny, any prohibition of the Law can be disregarded." The Sabbath shows the loving presence of God in human life. The Lord Jesus is the loving face of God; therefore, he repeats that he desires mercy, not sacrifice. Jesus does not break the law; rather he fulfils it through love. God does not give a regulation but a word of love to make human life full.