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Eyes Fixed on My King
Tuesday of the Second Week in Ordinary Time
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.”
Opening Prayer: Lord, every day I come to you and every day you have something new to show me. I know that I need your word today so I can be strengthened for the mission you have for me. Help me be penetrated and transformed by your word.
- David Ate the Bread of the Offering: As often happens in the Gospels, Jesus was challenged because he didn’t observe the Sabbath as strictly as the Pharisees thought he ought to. In this case, his response had a special twist to it. Instead of encouraging the Pharisees to be more humble or have more faith, Jesus compared himself to David, who made an exception to the law for himself and his companions by virtue of his kingship. We can imagine that this comparison was shocking to the Pharisees. But Jesus didn’t say this by accident. He wanted to reveal to them, his disciples, and to me that he is greater than David. He is the fulfillment that David was only meant to point to as a prophet. David was a preparation for the true King who would surpass him infinitely in power and authority.
- The Sabbath Was Made for Man: Jesus was teaching us about the meaning of the Sabbath. If we were made for the Sabbath, we are meant to serve it, respect it, and honor it. But Jesus tells us that the Sabbath was made for us. Our Sunday observances–Mass attendance, time with family, rest and refreshment–are supposed to help us grow in holiness, in our relationship with God. How well do we observe the Sabbath?
- The Son of Man Is Lord of the Sabbath: Jesus was using this occasion to reveal his Kingship, to reveal his authority, and to reveal himself also as Lord of the Sabbath. He clearly and unequivocally wants to be King of our lives. When is Our Lord not our King?—when we harbor false idols. The Pharisees had made idols of their religious practices, requiring the people to follow hundreds of dos and don’ts. The letter of the law was more important to them than the spirit of the law. We can make idols of almost anything, including our own religious practices. Perhaps Jesus is asking us here to purify our intentions with every action we take and every word we speak. May our hearts always be oriented toward him!
Conversing with Christ: Lord Jesus, thank you for giving me your friendship! Thank you for teaching me not to get lost in the many little practices that make up my devotion to you, so much so that I could lose sight of you and your friendship. Help me to observe Sundays in a way that glorifies you and truly refreshes me.
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will make a conscientious effort to focus my eyes on you as my King and my friend, and not have an attitude of accomplishing my prayer for the sake of fulfilling a commitment.
For Further Reflection: In Introduction to a Devout Life, chapter II, St. Francis de Sales exhorts us to use the imagination in prayer: https://ccel.org/ccel/desales/devout_life/devout_life.iv.ii.html.
Fr. Adam Zettel, LC, was ordained in 2017 and worked for three years as a high school chaplain in Dallas, Texas. Now he resides in Oakville, Ontario, serving youth and young adults.