Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Son Of Man Is Lord, Even Of The Sabbath.

Tuesday of the Second Week in Ordinary Time
Reading I
Hebrews 6:10-20
Brothers and sisters:
God is not unjust
so as to overlook your work
and the love you have demonstrated
for his name by having served
and continuing to serve the holy ones.
We earnestly desire each of you
to demonstrate the same eagerness
for the fulfillment of hope until the end,
so that you may not become sluggish,
but imitators of those who,
through faith and patience,
are inheriting the promises.

When God made the promise to Abraham,
since he had no one greater by whom to swear,
he swore by himself, and said,
I will indeed bless you and multiply you.
And so, after patient waiting,
Abraham obtained the promise.
Now, men swear by someone
greater than themselves;
for them an oath serves as a guarantee
and puts an end to all argument.
So when God wanted
to give the heirs of his promise
an even clearer demonstration
of the immutability of his purpose,
he intervened with an oath,
so that by two immutable things,
in which it was impossible for God to lie,
we who have taken refuge
might be strongly encouraged
to hold fast to the hope that lies before us.
This we have as an anchor of the soul,
sure and firm, which reaches
into the interior behind the veil,
where Jesus has entered
on our behalf as forerunner,
becoming high priest forever
according to the order of Melchizedek.
+++    +++    +++    +++
Psalm 111
R. The Lord will remember his covenant for ever.
I will give thanks to the LORD with all my heart
in the company and assembly of the just.
Great are the works of the LORD,
exquisite in all their delights.
R. The Lord will remember his covenant for ever.
He has won renown for his wondrous deeds;
gracious and merciful is the LORD.
He has given food to those who fear him;
he will forever be mindful of his covenant.
R. The Lord will remember his covenant for ever.
He has sent deliverance to his people;
he has ratified his covenant forever;
holy and awesome is his name.
His praise endures forever.
R. The Lord will remember his covenant for ever.
+++    +++    +++    +++
Mark 2:23-28
As Jesus was passing through
a field of grain on the sabbath,
his disciples began to make a path
while picking the heads of grain.
At this the Pharisees said to him,
“Look, why are they doing
what is unlawful on the sabbath?”
He said to them,
“Have you never read what David did
when he was in need
and he and his companions were hungry?
How he went into the house of God
when Abiathar was high priest
and ate the bread of offering
that only the priests could lawfully eat,
and shared it with his companions?”
Then he said to them,
“The sabbath was made for man,
not man for the sabbath.
That is why the Son of Man
is lord even of the sabbath.”
St. Charles of Sezze

Charles thought that God was calling him to be a missionary in India, but he never got there. God had something better for this 17th-century successor to Brother Juniper.

Born in Sezze, southeast of Rome, Charles was inspired by the lives of Salvator Horta and Paschal Baylon to become a Franciscan; he did that in 1635. Charles tells us in his autobiography, "Our Lord put in my heart a determination to become a lay brother with a great desire to be poor and to beg alms for his love."

Charles served as cook, porter, sacristan, gardener and beggar at various friaries in Italy. In some ways, he was "an accident waiting to happen." He once started a huge fire in the kitchen when the oil in which he was frying onions burst into flames.

One story shows how thoroughly Charles adopted the spirit of St. Francis. The superior ordered Charles — then porter — to give food only to traveling friars who came to the door. Charles obeyed this direction; simultaneously the alms to the friars decreased. Charles convinced the superior the two facts were related. When the friars resumed giving goods to all who asked at the door, alms to the friars increased also.

At the direction of his confessor Charles wrote his autobiography, The Grandeurs of the Mercies of God. He also wrote several other spiritual books. He made good use of his various spiritual directors throughout the years; they helped him discern which of Charles’ ideas or ambitions were from God. Charles himself was sought out for spiritual advice. The dying Pope Clement IX called Charles to his bedside for a blessing.

Charles had a firm sense of God’s providence. Father Severino Gori has said, "By word and example he recalled in all the need of pursuing only that which is eternal" (Leonard Perotti, St. Charles of Sezze: An Autobiography, page 215).

He died at San Francesco a Ripa in Rome and was buried there. Pope John XXIII canonized him in 1959.

The drama in the lives of the saints is mostly interior. Charles’ life was spectacular only in his cooperation with God’s grace. He was captivated by God’s majesty and great mercy to all of us.

Father Gori says that the autobiography of Charles "stands as a very strong refutation of the opinion, quite common among religious people, that saints are born saints, that they are privileged right from their first appearance on this earth. This is not so. Saints become saints in the usual way, due to the generous fidelity of their correspondence to divine grace. They had to fight just as we do, and more so, against their passions, the world and the devil" (St. Charles of Sezze: An Autobiography, page viii).

Saint of the Day
American Catholic.org


Sarah in the tent said...

'.. he intervened with an oath,'

This second oath seems to be from Psalm 110: 'Yahweh has sworn an oath he will never retract, you are a priest for ever of the order of Melchizedek.'

When Jesus says that the Son of Man is 'Lord of the Sabbath', does Hebrew use the same word for 'Sabbath' here as for 'oath' in Psalm 110? If so, it might have been clear to the Pharisees that Jesus was claiming to be that eternal High Priest of whom King David sang.

Fr. John L. Sullivan said...

Sarah, the scriptures of the day are all about oaths. In the gospel, the Pharisees criticize Jesus for allowing his disciples to pick grain on the Sabbath to ease their hunger. He reminds them that King David entered the Temple and shared with his companions the shewbread that only the Priests were allowed to eat.

In the First Reading, we are reminded of the promise God made to Abraham, swearing by Himself, since there is no one greater to swear by. The message is clear: Jesus Christ is the fulfillment of the promise, an oath fulfilled when Jesus offers himself as atonement for the sins of his brothers and sisters, the children of Adam. By his sacrifice, he acts as the Eternal High Priest. He is the victim, the priest and, in his divinity, the One to whom the sacrifice is offered.