A reading from the gospel according to Luke 6:1-5
1 While Jesus 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.
2 Some Pharisees said, “Why are you doing what is unlawful on the sabbath?”
3 Jesus said to them in reply, “Have you not read what David did when he and those who were with him were hungry?
4 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?”
5 Then he said to them, “The Son of Man is lord of the sabbath.”
Good News: Jesus is Lord of the Sabbath.
In this gospel reading, once again we see the Pharisees point out what they see as imperfection in the life of Jesus and His disciples. Why do they behave that way? Were they jealous that Jesus was becoming popular as he goes about doing His mission? Whatever their reasons for their actions, let us look at their behavior in a positive way because their concern may also be the concern of some people in our time. Here, Jesus gives us the answer.
The question is: is it a sin to work on a Sunday or any day of obligation? The answer of Jesus is, it depends on the nature of work. If it is mandatory or absolutely necessary because you cannot postpone it for the next day, then it is not a sin to do it on a Sunday or Christian holiday. At the end of the day, the issue is our focus or motivation. Only God can read our heart’s desires and He sees whether or not He is our priority.
The third commandment to keep the Sabbath Day holy was given to us in Exodus 20:8 so that we can have a day dedicated for the Lord, a time to worship Him and a time to rest after working or gallivanting perhaps for six days. Therefore, we need to give a commitment to obey this commandment and all the other commandments of God. Yet Jesus is teaching us in our gospel reading that there is no problem doing a necessary task on the Sabbath. He also used the occasion to reveal His identity as the Lord of the Sabbath. We can take this passage as a reminder that if our focus is on Him as our Lord, there should be no conflict at all in all that we do. Then every day, we live a holy life.
The Hebrew origin of the word Sabbath is shabbāth, which means to rest. We ought to be grateful to God for giving us time to rest, relax and enjoy life with our family.