Daily Reflection
of Creighton University's Online Ministries
September 3rd, 2011
Susan Tinley

School of Nursing
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Memorial of St. Gregory the Great
[436] Colossians 1:21-23
Psalm 54:3-4, 6+8
Luke 6:1-5

In the gospel today, Jesus is rebuked by the elders for taking grain from the field on the Sabbath.  He responds by reminding them that Isaiah took holy bread from the synagogue to feed his hungry followers.  He then goes on to say that keeping the Sabbath is judged by the Son of man.  What does the Son of man think of how well we keep the Sabbath?  In years past keeping the Sabbath was considered to be an important part of Christian life.  All of the Sunday Masses were said on Sunday morning. Families started their Sunday as a unit going to Mass.  When I was a child, we often stopped at the Jewish bakery after Sunday Mass to purchase sweet rolls and then went home to fix a big family breakfast. The bakery was closed on Saturday in honor of the Jewish Sabbath.  Most other businesses were closed on Sundays. I remember Sundays as a child being a day of relaxation and fun, a day of family, a day for special meals, a day to celebrate and be thankful for all of God’s blessings.

People took the Sabbath seriously, sometimes too much so, becoming like the Pharisees in the gospel.  I remember questions about what activities were appropriate on Sundays such as could you sew on Sundays? If it was for your livelihood, it probably was not considered proper. If it was an activity that you enjoyed and you would not sell the product of your work, would that make it OK?  That seemed to be more open for debate.  Yet, for the tailor with limited income, sewing on the Sabbath may have been a necessity to be able to feed his family.  As with the Pharisees, sometimes the rules were more important than human needs. In the gospel account, Jesus provided an essential lesson in priorities; human need takes precedence over rules.

Today, it is not so common to worry about how to keep the Sabbath holy.  It seems to be more of the norm that the Sabbath is largely ignored in much of our society. It is business as usual in the malls and grocery stores. In fact, some malls require their leasing stores to be open seven days a week. Yet there are e few retail businesses that close for the Sabbath and they seem to make up their business on the other six days.

Whether we work or not on the Sabbath, is there a remembrance of it being God’s day?  Do we spend time with friends and/or family?  Do we minister to others in some way? How do we thank God for his many blessings and give Him praise and glory?
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