Daily Reflection

From a Creighton Student's Perspective

January 18, 2011

Sam Pierre

2nd Year Medical Student

Heb 6:10-20
Ps 111:1-2, 4-5, 9 and 10c
Mk 2:23-28

Jesus gets into a bit of a verbal spar with the Pharisees in today’s Gospel.  The Disciples are criticized for many of their habits throughout the Gospels, with today’s rant focused on their seeming disregard for the sanctity of Sunday.  The way that Jesus disarms his critics seems that he is almost dismissing that Sunday should be a day of rest.

Perhaps I am inclined to look for Jesus’ support in his statements about Sunday, because I, like the Pharisees, struggle with how to treat that day of the week.  I don’t look forward to Sunday.  When I stop to think about it, that bothers me.  As a second year medical student, I have been using Sunday as another day to catch up, laden with studying, since at least high school.  Sure, I love going to Mass and definitely look forward to the bigger crowd there, celebrating the Eucharist with my friends, and trying to refocus myself before starting a new week.  However, by Sunday afternoon, I am usually not smiling and enjoying the day.

What are we to make of Jesus telling the Pharisees that the “Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath”?  I take Jesus’ retort as a reminder to us to focus on what is important, rather than simply following the rules for the sake of checking off the box.  Yes, there are sins and doctrine that we are never to break or contradict, which is necessary in living a life for God.  However, it’s altogether too easy for us to hide behind our rules and convince ourselves that we are living a holy life by blindly following them. 

Understanding is the key here.  Jesus urges us to embrace the Sabbath as a gift from God, rather than an obligation.  The same can be said true for almost any other aspect of our faith.  For example, without a love for the Mass itself as a gift from God, the weekly Mass obligation is merely a duty by which we must abide.  When we focus on the gift and understand what God is giving us, we will gain from following the rules, rather than seeing them as just that: rules.

So which aspects of my views on Sunday need to change and which are consistent with today’s Gospel?  Boiling it down, I believe that my actions are consistent, while my attitude is not fully where it should be. 

After the glamour of Advent and before the challenge of Lent, let’s try to use these weeks of Ordinary Time to reappraise our perspective on the Sabbath.  When we are comfortable with that, let's challenge ourselves to try to apply this logic to other “rules” in the Church.  I have no doubt that the results will bring us all to a fuller appreciation of God’s immeasurable love for us.

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