The Lord of the Sabbath

First Reading: 1 Sm 15:16-23
Psalm: Ps 50:8-9, 16bc-17, 21 and 23
Gospel: Mk 2:18-22

Today we are presented with the middle part of five conflicts in
Mark’s gospel.
Last Friday and Saturday we heard how Jesus got into
trouble with the scribes because he forgave sins and ate with
sinners, another sign of forgiveness. The gospel readings for
tomorrow and the day after present Jesus in trouble again this time
with the Pharisees because of alleged Sabbath violations.

Compared with these four conflicts, the center, today’s gospel
reading, seems to be quite harmless. There are no scribes or
Pharisees around, just ordinary people asking why Jesus’ disciples
do not fast as often as some Jewish groups do. But today’s gospel
reading is an explosive one.

Jesus speaks of himself three times as the bridegroom. You may
ask: “So what?” The Jews used this word only for the real
bridegrooms, or for God, the bridegroom of his spouse Israel. By
comparing himself with a bridegroom, Jesus indicates that through
his teaching and actions, through his very person, God has become
present in the world in a new and unique way. That is why he heals
and forgives, why he can call himself “Lord of the Sabbath.”

This is indeed a new teaching, something unheard of, something that
shocks and scares the religious leaders.
It is a teaching so new
and explosive that it does not anymore fit into the old ways in much
the same way as new fermenting wine cannot be put into old hardened
wineskins because they would burst and the new wine spilled. Jesus’
teaching is not just a patchwork of the new and the old. Whoever
follows Jesus must be ready to embark upon a whole new way of life.

In yesterday’s celebration of the Santo NiƱo, we seem to have tamed
Jesus. We have made him a handsome harmless Jesus. He is
compassionate, loving and forgiving. But with his divine power and
authority, he also demands a lot from his followers. He challenges
us to let go of our old sinful or tepid way of living and live a new
life, his life. We cannot ease our conscience when we continue to
go our old ways saying, “the Lord is so good, he will understand.”
Neither can we say, “The Lord will understand” when we are not ready
to give up our bad habits or even vices. New wine must be put into
new wineskins. Renewal, turning away from sin and acting on the
gospel, is what Jesus demands of each and every one of us.

  • lkeebler

    Am I missing something, but I don’t see the reading for Jan. 15 (this Sunday) only the 14th and the 16th: That scripture reading is so good though, it is a shame that it is missed (maybe it is here and I don’t find it for some reason…):

    January 15, 2012

    Second Sunday In Ordinary Time
    Lectionary: 65

    Reading 1 1 Sm 3:3b-10, 19
    Samuel was sleeping in the temple of the LORD
    where the ark of God was.
    The LORD called to Samuel, who answered, “Here I am.”
    Samuel ran to Eli and said, “Here I am. You called me.”
    “I did not call you, ” Eli said. “Go back to sleep.”
    So he went back to sleep.
    Again the LORD called Samuel, who rose and went to Eli.
    “Here I am, ” he said. “You called me.”
    But Eli answered, “I did not call you, my son. Go back to sleep.”

    At that time Samuel was not familiar with the LORD,
    because the LORD had not revealed anything to him as yet.
    The LORD called Samuel again, for the third time.
    Getting up and going to Eli, he said, “Here I am. You called me.”
    Then Eli understood that the LORD was calling the youth.
    So he said to Samuel, “Go to sleep, and if you are called, reply,
    Speak, LORD, for your servant is listening.”
    When Samuel went to sleep in his place,
    the LORD came and revealed his presence,
    calling out as before, “Samuel, Samuel!”
    Samuel answered, “Speak, for your servant is listening.”

    Samuel grew up, and the LORD was with him,
    not permitting any word of his to be without effect.

    Responsorial Psalm Ps 40:2, 4, 7-8, 8-9, 10
    R. (8a and 9a) Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will.
    I have waited, waited for the LORD,
    and he stooped toward me and heard my cry.
    And he put a new song into my mouth,
    a hymn to our God.
    R. Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will.
    Sacrifice or offering you wished not,
    but ears open to obedience you gave me.
    Holocausts or sin-offerings you sought not;
    then said I, “Behold I come.”
    R. Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will.
    “In the written scroll it is prescribed for me,
    to do your will, O my God, is my delight,
    and your law is within my heart!”
    R. Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will.
    I announced your justice in the vast assembly;
    I did not restrain my lips, as you, O LORD, know.
    R. Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will.

    Reading 2 1 Cor 6:13c-15a, 17-20
    Brothers and sisters:
    The body is not for immorality, but for the Lord,
    and the Lord is for the body;
    God raised the Lord and will also raise us by his power.

    Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ?
    But whoever is joined to the Lord becomes one Spirit with him.
    Avoid immorality.
    Every other sin a person commits is outside the body,
    but the immoral person sins against his own body.
    Do you not know that your body
    is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you,
    whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?
    For you have been purchased at a price.
    Therefore glorify God in your body.

    Gospel Jn 1:35-42
    John was standing with two of his disciples,
    and as he watched Jesus walk by, he said,
    “Behold, the Lamb of God.”
    The two disciples heard what he said and followed Jesus.
    Jesus turned and saw them following him and said to them,
    “What are you looking for?”
    They said to him, “Rabbi” – which translated means Teacher -,
    “where are you staying?”
    He said to them, “Come, and you will see.”
    So they went and saw where Jesus was staying,
    and they stayed with him that day.
    It was about four in the afternoon.
    Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter,
    was one of the two who heard John and followed Jesus.
    He first found his own brother Simon and told him,
    “We have found the Messiah” – which is translated Christ -.
    Then he brought him to Jesus.
    Jesus looked at him and said,
    “You are Simon the son of John;
    you will be called Cephas” – which is translated Peter.

  • Thank you for commenting! The readings themselves are always under “Today’s Mass Readings,” in The Church Today section. God bless.