“This daughter of Abraham whom Satan has bound for eighteen
years now, ought she not to have been set free on the Sabbath day
from this bondage?”
This passage from Luke shows Jesus at his common sense best. Follow
the law, of course, but don’t let petty literalness trump
its spirit. As I think of the whole question of Sabbath observance,
however, we’ve reversed the situation.
We may literally observe the Sabbath by heading to church but as
a society we’ve gotten away from the spirit of Sabbath observance.
I grew up on a farm where Sunday was the only day my Dad took off
and he loved it – a real Sabbath observer, except for one
unvarying interlude that Jesus would have approved of.
As soon as we returned from 7 a.m. Mass, Dad donned his work clothes
and headed out to the feedlot where a lot of hungry Angus awaited
him. Our Sunday brunch was delayed until after theirs.
“No matter what happens you have to feed the cows,”
Our afternoons were quiet – boring, you might say, but Sunday
had a rhythm like no other day.
As I think back on those childhood Sundays, I wonder how many of
today’s kids will have a strong sense of Sunday as a day set
apart even if it includes a trip to church.
Drive by a shopping center parking lot and the only way you’d
guess it is Sunday is that it’s probably more crowded than
during the week. I’m as guilty as anyone else. Just this afternoon,
I made an appointment to go shopping with my daughter tomorrow (a
So what does the Sabbath mean to us today? If Jesus showed common
sense in bending the Sabbath rules to perform a good deed, maybe
we should show common sense by consciously reserving part of every
Sunday to worship, rest, reflect and restore ourselves as God intended
even if, like my Dad, we can’t avoid “feeding the cows.”