Biblical Readings for each day's Mass,
(for the Liturgical Year 2021)

Saturday, September 4 2021

Saturday of Week 22 in Ordinary Time

1st Reading: Colossians 1:21-23

Hold the faith firmly, to come before God free of all blame

You who were once estranged and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his fleshly body through death, so as to present you holy and blameless and irreproachable before him, provided that you continue securely established and steadfast in the faith, without shifting from the hope promised by the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven. I, Paul, became a servant of this gospel.

Responsorial: Psalm 53:3-4, 6, 8

R./: God himself is my help

O God, save me by your name;
  by your power, uphold my cause.
O God, hear my prayer;
  listen to the words of my mouth. (R./)

But I have God for my help.
  The Lord upholds my life.
I will sacrifice to you with willing heart
  and praise your name for it is good. (R./)

Gospel: Luke 6:1-5

Jesus, Lord of the Sabbath, defends 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 the sabbath

Jesus was challenged about why his hungry disciples were "harvesting" on the sabbath He gave a simple common-sense answer. They were just plucking ears of grain and eating them to satisfy their hunger, a anyone might do while walking through a cornfield. He bolsters his reply 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 exceptions, in order to serve the poor and the needy.

Jesus is Lord of the sabbath in a deeper sense. Colossians speaks of his winning reconciliation for us by dying in his mortal body. If it is to be real, peace is no cheap grace; it is not "easy come, easy go." Jesus died to obtain it for us. Someone must patiently suffer 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 (2 Cor 5:21) so that he can present us to God "holy, free of reproach and blame."

Two views about Sabbath

What people should do or not do on the Sabbath was disputed between Jesus and the Pharisees. Accoeding to the Pharisees, simply plucking ears of corn and eating them while walking in the fields constituted "manual labour" and so was forbidden on the Sabbath. For Jesus, it was perfectly right to satisfy one’s hunger on the Sabbath, especially for people like his disciples who were never sure where their next meal would come from. The Sabbath law as as interpreted by the Pharisees could be safely ignored.

Jesus calls himself Lord of the Sabbath. Sunday is now the Christian Sabbath. In Jesus’ view of the Sabbath, anything that serves the basic needs of others may be done, and is part of keeping holy the sabbath day.