Liturgical Colour : Green
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we listened to the words of God speaking to us about the need for us to understand fully what God has intended for us through what He has given to us and through what He has done for us all these while. We must not lose focus on what is important just because we are distracted in life by the many temptations and distractions present all around us.
In our Gospel passage today we heard of the encounter and the disagreement between the Lord Jesus and those Pharisees and teachers of the Law who followed Him and questioned Him and His disciples along the way, doubting and refusing to believe in what He has done and in what He has taught the people. And in today’s passage, the focus was on the matter of the Law of the Sabbath.
For the context, the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law were those who preserved the customs and practices of the Law of Israel, educated and intellectual, and also strove to impose strictly the laws and rules of the Law to the people of God. They were very particular on how the rules and the precepts were to be observed and they took great pride in themselves being supposedly the role models for the people that they showed off their piety publicly.
But the Lord pointed out to the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law when they criticised the actions of His disciples which supposedly broke the strict provisions of the Law, in particular the law of the Sabbath when they picked grains of wheat in a field as they were all hungry at that time. The true purpose of the Sabbath law has been forgotten by the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law who saw the Sabbath law as merely a letter of law to be obeyed.
In fact, the Sabbath day was meant to be a day kept holy for God, as He Himself revealed in the Ten Commandments, in the third of the ten commandments, ‘Keep holy the day of the Lord’. And the intention of the Sabbath was to remind God’s people that they are truly obliged to spend time for their Lord and Master, and to focus themselves and reorientate themselves from time to time especially when they have been led astray.
The Sabbath day was meant to allow the people to stop themselves from being overly busy and preoccupied, which was easily the case when the people were busy with their daily work, their daily pursuit for worldly glory and power, for fame and influence, for glory and satisfactions of the world, which prevented them from truly being able to focus their attention and hearts on God.
And that is why even in the Church, we have always kept the day of the Lord, the Sundays to be sacred, in the same spirit as how the Sabbath day had been kept sacred. But we must be very clear with the intention and purpose of the rules and regulations pertaining to this because just as the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law had done, they misunderstood that the Sabbath was not meant to restrain the people of God with rules and strict ordinances, but rather to redirect them towards God.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all remind ourselves that God truly is the focus and the heart of all of our actions, words and deeds. Let us all not be distracted by other things and by all those obstacles that try to keep us away from God. Let us all turn towards God wholeheartedly from now on and seek to glorify Him through our every actions, and grow ever stronger in our faith and dedication towards Him, each and every days of our lives. Amen.