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Childlike Trust in Our Provider
Saturday of the Twenty-Second Week in Ordinary Time
While he was going through a field of grain on a Sabbath, his disciples were picking the heads of grain, rubbing them in their hands, and eating them. Some Pharisees said, “Why are you doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath?” Jesus said to them in reply, “Have you not read what David did when he and those who were with him were hungry? How he went into the house of God, took the bread of offering, which only the priests could lawfully eat, ate of it, and shared it with his companions?” Then he said to them, “The Son of Man is lord of the Sabbath.”
Opening Prayer: Dear Lord Jesus, I thank you for the honor of coming before you in prayer. I need you in my life. You are my foundation, my strength, and my joy. Please increase my faith, hope, and love so that I may cling ever more to you in all that I do.
- Simplicity of Heart: There is a strong contrast between the hypocrisy of the Pharisees and the simplicity of the apostles. The problem was not the Pharisees’ zeal for the law. In another passage, Jesus himself defended their authority to teach: “The scribes and the Pharisees have taken their seat on the chair of Moses. Therefore, do and observe all things whatsoever they tell you” (Matthew 23:2-3a). The problem was their disposition. Our Lord continued, “but do not follow their example. For they preach but they do not practice. They tie up heavy burdens… and lay them on people’s shoulders, but they will not lift a finger to move them” (Matthew 23:3b-4). The Pharisees seemed to exercise their authority in a controlling and oppressive manner towards others while allowing themselves much leeway (Matthew 15:3-6). Again in this passage, we see their heavy-handed criticism of the apostles. For their part, the hungry apostles simply reached for some food. While the apostles themselves struggled with ambition and vanity (Mark 9:34), there remained in them a childlike simplicity that was born from sincerity (John 1:47).
- Defending His Own: The Pharisees and scribes frequently attacked Jesus, accusing him of being possessed or mad, setting verbal traps for him, and the like (Matthew 12:24; Mark 12:14). In such instances, he bore it with great patience, although he would correct their errors and call out their hypocrisy. However, when the Pharisees attacked his apostles, Jesus never failed to come quickly and firmly to their rescue. Here he defended their simply satiating their hunger. In another passage, Jesus quickly clarified Peter’s confusion about Jesus’s payment of the temple tax by working a miracle (Matthew 17:24-26). When Judas brought the temple guard to arrest Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, Our Lord said that he was the one for whom they came, so that they should let the apostles go (John 18:8). Jesus will allow us to suffer in following him, but he will also protect and strengthen us on our journey. Our Lord looks after his own.
- Lord of the Sabbath: “The Son of Man is lord of the Sabbath.” Throughout his public life, Jesus frequently affirmed his authority. More than once, Jesus said or implied this:“Moses said… but I say to you” (Matthew 5:21-22; Matthew 5:27-28; Matthew 19:7-9). He unambiguously declared that he is a greater authority than Moses. So too, in this passage, Jesus’s ultimate argument in defense of his apostles was his own authority. The same relationship holds between Jesus and his Church. The Church has authority and power from its union with the Lord, and Jesus promised to uphold that union until the end of time (Matthew 28:20). Our confidence in the Church is rooted in our confidence in Jesus and in his promises.
Conversing with Christ: Dear Lord Jesus, I thank you for your protective and provident love in my life. You never allow me to be tempted beyond my ability to resist. You have frequently come to my aid. Please help me to grow in simplicity of heart so that I may avoid the pitfalls of hypocrisy and insincerity. I realize that I am in need of purification, and I will entrust myself to your loving hands.
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will try to grow in simplicity by learning to laugh at myself and not take myself too seriously when the occasion arises.
For Further Reflection: Read Simplicity.
Written by Fr. John Bullock, LC.