06Sep 6th September. Saturday, Week 22

First Reading: 1 Corinthians 4:6-15

(By his his lifestyle and manner, Paul seeks to win back the loyalty of the Corinthians.)

I have applied all this to myself and Apollos for your benefit, brethren, that you may learn by us not to go beyond what is written, that none of you may be puffed up in favour of one against another. For who sees anything different in you? What have you that you did not receive? If then you received it, why do you boast as if it were not a gift

Already you are filled! Already you have become rich! Without us you have become kings! And would that you did reign, so that we might share the rule with you! For I think that God has exhibited us apostles as last of all, like men sentenced to death; because we have become a spectacle to the world, to angels and to men. We are fools for Christ’s sake, but you are wise in Christ. We are weak, but you are strong. You are held in honour, but we in disrepute. To the present hour we hunger and thirst, we are ill-clad and buffeted and homeless, and we labour, working with our own hands. When reviled, we bless; when persecuted, we endure; when slandered, we try to conciliate; we have become, and are now, as the refuse of the world, the off-scouring of all things.

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.

Gospel: Luke 6:1-5

(Jesus defends his disciples for eating grain on the Sabbath.)

One sabbath while Jesus was going through the grainfields, his disciples plucked some heads of grain, rubbed them in their hands, and ate them. But some of the Pharisees said, “Why are you doing what is not lawful on the sabbath?” Jesus answered, “Have you not read what David did when he and his companions were hungry? He entered the house of God and took and ate the bread of the Presence, which it is not lawful for any but the priests to eat, and gave some to his companions?” Then he said to them, “The Son of Man is lord of the sabbath.”

Keeping Sabbath properly

Shabbath shalom!, the biblical ideal of eternal peace, is not gained just by keeping external rules. When questioned about the actions of his hungry disciples on the sabbath, Jesus replied with simple common sense. They were plucking ears of grain, and eating them, an action normally permitted as one walked through a field of standing corn. He bolsters his defense of them by appealing to another time when David and his men were allowed eat what normally was reserved for priests. Proper observance of the Law allowed for serving the poor and the needy.

Jesus is “Lord of the sabbath” in a deeper sense, by entering into the eternal sanctuary through the sacrifice of his life, in the Passion. If it is to be real, peace is no cheap grace; it is not “easy come, easy go”. Jesus died to open the way for us into God’s peace. He patiently suffered the effects of hostility and envy, so that others can see the evil of their deeds and be truly sorry for them. In Jesus, humble and patient on the cross, we find ourselves drawn to repudiate sin so that he can present us to God “holy, free of reproach and blame.” Saint Paul, too, had to struggle to retain the loyalty of his Christians in Corinth, so that he could continue to help them gain the prize of eternal life.

 


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