Commentary on the Gospel of
Readings: Col 1:21-23; Ps 53:3-4-6,8; Luke 6:1-5
Jesus, Master of the Sabbath: the law at the service of human life
Brothers and sisters,
The extract of the gospel of Luke we listen to this morning follows immediately the one to which we listened yesterday. The motivation is the same but the themes are different. Jesus gives an original meaning, not of fasting like yesterday, but of another prescription of the law, one of the most important in Moses’ law: the Sabbath rest. The same Pharisees continue to reprove Jesus and his disciples’ behavior: why do you not do things according to the prescription of the law? In answer to this question, Jesus gives again the original meaning of Sabbath rest and reveals also, himself as the master of the Sabbath, that means, God. Jesus’ question is the same: why do you rest on the Sabbath?
The Sabbath rest is for God’s glory, remembering his rest after the creation. It is also the invitation to men to imitate God as the Giver of life. Indeed, by the creation, God gives life, his life, to all things, especially to man. Therefore, the observance of the Sabbath rest would mean respecting life in every being created by God, and above all human life. When human life is in danger, there is no law to observe, apart from the law of love. And in this case, the disciples’ life is in danger because they are hungry. So, to do charity to give, to defend and to promote human life on the Sabbath is not against the will of God, but the sublime manner in which to glorify him. As Saint Irenee of Lyon said: “the glory of God is the living man and the life of man is to glorify God”. The mission of Jesus is just to give life and life in abundance (cf John 10:10), because he is the Word of creation, by whom all things came to life and without whom nothing was created (cf John 1:1). Jesus is so, the author of the Sabbath, anyone who would like to observe it must learn from him how to do it.