1Cor 4:6b-15; Ps 145:17-21; Lk 6:1-5
The Lord Jesus does not break the Law of the LORD. Neither does he trivialize it as his opponents do. The Lord Jesus keeps the Law of the LORD and he expects the same from his disciples. The Lord Jesus is just in all his ways and holy in all his works. He is near to us who call upon him, and to all who call upon him in truth. As the Gospel of John reveals, the Lord Jesus is the Good Shepherd who has many sheep, not in the fold, and these He will seek out and find. They hear his voice, and they call upon him in truth. Indeed, this Lord and Master, Jesus, fulfills the desire of those who fear him, he hears our cry, “Lord have mercy”! He saves us! The Lord Jesus keeps all who love him, but all the wicked he will destroy. He will destroy that which makes them wicked; he will destroy sin and death forever and always. We long to speak the praise of the LORD, and our flesh longs to bless his holy name forever unto the ages of ages. Saint Paul summons his beloved children in Corinth and he summons us to grow beyond the desire to be inflated with pride or distinction. Indeed, all is grace; all is gift. In today’s gospel the Son of Man reveals his lordship over the Sabbath. Even Sabbath observance cannot be used to inflate us with pride or distinction.
Saint Paul is the spiritual father of the church in Corinth. He became their father in Christ by living and preaching the Gospel among them. As a loving father he wants them to be strong, truly strong inside. He wants them to recognize the true basis of their dignity. They are precious and holy because they are sons and daughters of God in Jesus Christ. Indeed, like them we are chosen and filled with the Holy Spirit. We are called to live forever in the glory of the Kingdom of God. In baptism we have already begun to share in the very priestly, royal, prophetic identity of the Lord Jesus. However, that glory has only begun and is not yet fulfilled in this world. Here, we walk by faith. In heaven we will not need the gift of faith to walk because we will share the beatific vision of the angels and saints. Saint Paul does not want his children in Christ to get caught up in a shallow pride that does not sustain when persecution and suffering increases. To keep their eyes upon the Lord Jesus he sketches a picture of the apostles. They are convicts with a death sentence; they are spectacles to all in the world and in the heavens; they are fools for Christ; they are weak; they are held in disrepute; they are hungry and thirsty; they are poorly clad and roughly treated; they are homeless; they are weary with labor; they are persecuted and slandered. Indeed the apostles have become like the world’s rubbish, the scum of all, even to our own day. He wants his children to discover in this litany of woes the great litany of blessing in being a believer. They are wise, strong, respected, well nourished, clad in splendor, at home wherever the Lord brings them. This is their true dignity, and it is ours in Christ Jesus, through the Holy Spirit, and for the glory of the Father.
Just like Saint Paul in the first reading, the Lord Jesus wants his disciples to know who they are and to whom they belong. He takes on the public criticism of his disciples. As their Lord and Master, he holds himself responsible for their behavior. Some Pharisees are scandalized that this great preacher and worker of miracles who is not faithful to the Law. The Lord Jesus challenges them to remember their own Scriptures; after all, they are the readers and commentators on these holy documents. If David can get away with doing what is unlawful, eating the bread of offering, then I who am the true and faithful Son of David can let my disciples get away with picking the heads of grain, rubbing them in their hands and eating them. The Lord Jesus is more than the Son of David; he is the Son of Man and Lord of the Sabbath. In his very person the whole law and the prophets are fulfilled. His faithfulness is seen and proven upon the Cross-that establishes the Day of Rest. His Sabbath is greater than any Sabbath yet observed in Israel. Indeed, he is the Sabbath Rest, “come to me, you who are weary and find life burdensome and I will give you rest.” Indeed, this Son of Man, this full human and fully divine Son of God knows the love of the Father that can alone give us our true identity. We too, are lord of the Sabbath because we know the Father’s heart. Indeed we know that he wants us to eat and drink, to rest, in his Son in whom we know who we are and to whom we belong.