September 3, 2016
by Ann Mausbach
Creighton University Education Department
click here for photo and information about the writer

Memorial of Saint Gregory the Great, Pope and Doctor of the Church

1 Corinthians 4:6b-15
Psalm 145:17-18, 19-20, 21
Luke 6:1-5

Praying Ordinary Time

Our family has a treasured family tradition called the “Cousin Reunion”. This annual tradition which started in 1981 brings together all the cousins on my father’s side who are 18 or older for a night of food, drink, and on occasion, entertainment. In the early years the aunts and uncles weren’t invited because the purpose of the event is to get to know each other as individuals rather than the typical superficial relative relationship (i.e. “this is Jim’s daughter”). The ritual, imagined and executed by our eldest cousin, is really simple; show up, eat and drink, and forge deeper relationships. So for the past 35 years without fail one night a year we gather and we gab. My cousins are a diverse group ranging from a former president at a Fortune 500 company headquartered in Connecticut to a bartender at a small town Iowa tavern. And while our life experiences are vastly different we celebrate in harmony.

What Jesus is asking us to do when we honor the Sabbath is as simple as the intent of my cousin reunion. Today’s gospel reading reminds us of this vision. Jesus desire was that the Sabbath would be a time out, if you will, a chance to grow through peaceful prayer and reflection. Jesus, unlike the Pharisees of the day, saw the Sabbath as a chance to join rather than divide. Jesus understood the power in sharing a meal together. It is in and through the experience of breaking bread as one that we deepen our relationship with God. Jesus love for all of mankind is exemplified through the desire for a Sabbath that is not about hierarchy or power and control. It is a time when all of mankind can grow in peace and goodness, if we take the time.

If we want more than a superficial relationship with God we need to honor the Sabbath. We need to intentionally make time for God in our lives.  As another busy week comes to an end my prayer for today is to help me honor Jesus' wish for the Sabbath. Help me to regularly show up and partake in the delicious meal God has set before me.

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