From a Creighton Student's Perspective
January 16, 2012
Sophomore, History Major, Biology Minor, Pre-Med
What does obedience mean?
In the first reading, Samuel rebukes Saul, the king of the Israelites, for disobeying the command of the Lord in taking the riches of the Amalekites after he defeats them in battle. Saul had told the Israelite warriors to take livestock and other riches to use as sacrifice to the Lord. Samuel reminds Saul that this was not what the Lord wanted nor intended and that it would be wise for him to heed God’s word if he wants to be king.
The Gospel today shows us Jesus’ response to the question of why his disciples do not fast like the followers of John the Baptist and the Pharisees do. Jesus explains his reasoning by using an analogy of a wedding: While the bridegroom is with the wedding guests, they cannot fast. This means that while God himself is here on earth, there is more reason to celebrate than fast. But while Jesus’ answer is clearly celebratory in its scope, he also foreshadows his later Passion and death. Jesus makes it known that there will be a time to fast when he leaves them, although that time had not yet come.
In both readings, people are wondering why their sacrifices seem somewhat undervalued. Saul doesn’t quite understand why taking the livestock to sacrifice to the Lord was wrong. The people questioning Jesus don’t understand that Jesus is God and there is something far more important than fasting to be done. Samuel, in the first reading, however, holds the answer to these concerns when he says, “’Obedience is better than sacrifice, and submission than the fat of rams.’” Sacrifices are great and should be used to show our worship and bring ourselves closer to Christ, but what the Lord really seems to want is our obedience to him. Jesus was faithful to the Father unto death; thus, we are called and challenged to show the same faith.
So how and in what ways can we show obedience towards the Lord? Jesus shows us the way when the Gospel introduces the Greatest Commandment: “’You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your being, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself,’” (Luke 10:27). If we follow this commandment and completely dedicate ourselves to the Lord and to others, we will please the Lord and gain eternal happiness with him. Jesus’ death upon the cross was out of obedience to love. By following Jesus’ example, it is through true obedience to God that we will find true love.
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