Daily Reflection
January 18th, 2005
Eileen Wirth
Journalism Department
Click here for a photo of and information on this writer.

In grade school religion classes when one of our primary objectives was to stall, we loved the final two lines of today’s Gospel:
    “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. That is why the Son of Man is lord even of the Sabbath.”

The passage offered endless opportunities to question what forms of “servile work” were allowed. Surely we would offend by doing the dishes or taking out trash – although God certainly wanted Mom to cook! How threatening did the forecast have to be to justify farmers making hay or harvesting the wheat? We would groan when a teacher assured us that doing homework was permissible. 

How quaint this bygone era when we worried about violations of the Sabbath seems! While the point of this passage is that we don’t have to be overly scrupulous about violating the Sabbath to meet essential needs, Jesus isn’t abolishing the Sabbath either.

That subtext that is more germane to life today than all our fatuous time-eating questions about “servile work.  We’re still supposed to set aside one day a week to pray and rest. How many of us actually do so?

•Are you one of those unfortunate people who has to work so the rest of us can cram the malls and buy things?
•Do you compulsively check your email (not to write to Mom) lest you delay a response to the Tokyo office a few hours? 
•Is Sunday when you tackle big home projects like painting the garage or cleaning the basement?
•Do you have any relaxing family rituals that mark Sunday as a special day?

On the farm where I grew up, my dad had to feed the livestock as soon as we got home from church. But after that we had SUNDAY. Mother would fix a special brunch/dinner that we all ate together – something we rarely did during the week. Then we would lounge around reading the Sunday paper or watching sports on TV.  The kids might go outside to play baseball or badminton so the folks could nap. We had a light family supper before it was time for us to study.

At times Sundays seemed long and dull. Usually we didn’t go anywhere or see our friends. We were stuck with just family. But especially in hindsight, those days were special. We prayed, played, slowed down and did only essential work. It’s a pattern we might try to emulate today.

Click on the link below to send an e-mail response
to the writer of this reflection.

Let Your Friends Know About This Reflection By Sending Them An E-mail


Collaborative Ministry Office Guestbook