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From Right Vision to Praise of God
Memorial of Saint Anthony, Abbott
As he 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 send your Spirit to open my eyes to the bigger picture of your saving action present in this temporal world. May I praise you as you deserve.
- Tunnel Vision: The Pharisees watch Jesus’s disciples taking the grain as they walked through the field. Their first reaction is law-based. They spot an infringement. There is no concern for the well-being of these hungry men. Is this tunnel vision? Their first judgments and first impressions dictate their response and they fail to recognize the Messiah in their midst. More importantly, they miss an opportunity to personally encounter the Lord and be transformed by love. Where do I have tunnel vision in my reactions to people? Do I hold any self-righteous attitudes that prevent me from loving a person that my inherent dignity requires? Lord, give me a heart like yours.
- Creation of the Sabbath: The Sabbath was created by the Lord. And all created goods serve a purpose for God’s salvific intent and ultimate glory. God gives a specific command about this day of rest which we read in Exodus 20:8-10: “Remember the Sabbath day–keep it holy. Six days you may labor and do all your work but the seventh day is a Sabbath of the Lord your God. You shall not do any work…” For Christians, we designate Sunday, “the seventh day,” as a day of the Lord in remembrance of the new creation received through his Death and Resurrection. It is a moment to stop and ponder in our hearts the greatest salvific event. We find it re-presented to us in the Holy Mass, as graces flow from heaven for our taking. It is a time to stop, refocus on our goal, as we are pilgrims journeying towards our final eternal rest in God. Do I live the Day of the Lord according to the Lord’s intent?
- The Son of Man: Jesus makes use of this term, “Son of Man,” on several occasions. In it, he shows both his solidarity with humanity and his divine identity. The Old Testament made use of this term to refer both to mere mortals and to the prophets, those called by God for a divine and salvific intention. But Daniel clearly used this term to prophecy about the coming of the divine Messiah and his Lordship over all creation (Daniel 7:13-14). Truly, Jesus is one to whom we owe worship and for whom the Sabbath was created:
“One like a son of man
When he reached the Ancient of Days
and was presented before him,
He received dominion, splendor, and kingship;
all nations, peoples and tongues will serve him.
His dominion is an everlasting dominion
that shall not pass away,
his kingship, one that shall not be destroyed.”
Conversing with Christ: Lord Jesus, you are Lord of all and giver of life. Help me to glorify you in all I do throughout the week, finding ways to worship you, my Savior and King.
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace, I will examine how I live the Lord’s day and resolve to live it in a special way that reflects my gratitude to you.
For Further Reflection: The Lord’s Day, Catechism of the Catholic Church, (CCC 2174)
Jennifer Ristine is a consecrated woman of Regnum Christi who is dedicated to spiritual and faith formation through teaching, conferences, writing, and spiritual direction. While serving in Ancient Magdala she wrote Mary Magdalene: Insights from Ancient Magdala.