Liturgical Colour : Green
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we heard yet another conflict between Our Lord Jesus and the Pharisees in the Gospel passage. In that occasion, the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law criticised Jesus and His disciples as they picked up grains of wheat from the wheat field and ate them during the day of the Sabbath. According to the former, and their interpretation of the laws of Moses, no one could do any work on the Sabbath.
This set them up against the Lord, Who rebuked them for their stubbornness to believe in Him and their persistence in insisting that their way and interpretation of the Law was the correct one, to the point of criticising and rejecting all those who did not agree with them. They believed in a very strict observance of the tenets and practices of the Law, to the point that they failed to understand the purpose and intention of God’s laws.
To them, the laws of God ended up becoming a source of pride and hubris, as they liked to show off their observances and supposed obedience to the Law, which to them was unlike what the others had done, those whom they deemed to be less worthy than they were for the Lord and for His kingdom. In the same manner, they looked down on the Lord Jesus and His disciples, because to them, all those who did not follow the Law as they did, were inferior, or even blasphemers.
In the first reading today, we listened to the account of the prophet Samuel’s actions, as God withdrew His favour and grace from king Saul, the first king He chose as ruler over Israel, and gave the favour and grace to David, the one whom God chose to replace Saul as His king over the people. Samuel came to the household of David, and went on to examine each of the sons of Jesse, David’s father, for the signs of God’s chosen one.
At that occasion, at first Samuel thought that the oldest son of Jesse, a man of great stature and worldly appearances, handsome and mighty, would be the one whom God chose to be king over Israel. Yet, God spoke to Samuel and reminded him about the truth, that He sees the good in His people and judges them not based on their appearances or external matters, but instead, their interior situation, the heart, mind and the soul.
Thus, none of Jesse’s sons were chosen, and the choice of God was revealed in the youngest among his sons, David, the simple and humble shepherd of his father’s flock, still very young and by any standards of the world, untrained and unfit to be a king to lead and to rule over Israel. Yet, God does not think in the same way as man thinks, and in His all-knowing sight, He knew how much David loved Him and how great was his faith for Him.
And that is the kind of love and dedication which God wants from each and every one of us mankind. It is not the dedication by performing external observances and obedience, by what the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law had done, a blind obedience, and worse still, one that was aimed at personal self-aggrandisement and ambition. Instead, God wants each and every one of us to have a genuine love and commitment for Him, as king David himself once had.
The law of the Sabbath itself had been given to the people of Israel by the Lord, because if we read what happened during their Exodus from Egypt more carefully, we will notice that they have been unfaithful and rebellious throughout their journey. They committed many things which were wicked, and God was not the first priority in their lives. Thus, one day in each week was set aside as a day of the Lord, made sacred and sanctified as the time reserved for the Lord, and not for other worldly purposes. That is the true purpose of the law, that is to bring mankind to love God and to realise the love which God has for them.
Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all rediscover the true faith and love for God in each and every one of us. Let us all spend more quality time with the Lord if we have not done so thus far. Surely if we reflect on our own lives, and remember all that we have done in life thus far, many of us will remember that in many occasions, we put God aside and we treat Him as of second importance or less.
Let us all put aside all the distractions and all that has kept us separated from the love of God. We cannot survive without His love, and all that He has done for us. That is why it is only right that we do our best to love Him in the same way that He has loved us. Let us spend good and quality time with Him, through prayer that comes from our hearts, and at the same time, listening to Him speaking with us.
With that, hopefully we will grow ever closer to Him, and as our relationship with God deepens, we will draw ever closer to His salvation and grace. May the Lord help us in our faith journey in this life, that we may reach out to Him and attain the glorious promise of His eternal grace. Amen.