Saturday, 9, 3/11
Jesus excused his disciples for picking heads of grain and rubbing them on the Sabbath. He went on tor say, “The Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.” That meant that he could free us from strict obligations to abstain from work on the Sabbath. Mark in his account of the same passage quotes Jesus as saying, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.”
Verse 12 in Chapter Twenty-three of Exodus says the same thing. “For six days you may do your work, but on the seventh day you must rest, that your ox and your ass may also have rest, and that the son of your maidservant and the alien may be refreshed.”
That clearly shows that God’s intention of calling for a day’s rest was to give refreshment and joy to men and animals. He did not institute the law to keep mortals from laying hold of the food they need for life. The enemies of Jesus in using the commandment to keep holy the Sabbath as a way of entrapping him were certainly going against God’s wishes in the matter.
We should remember, however, that what we were commanded to do was not to cease all activity. What we were commanded to do was to keep the day holy. Going to church is an obvious way of doing that. We should also abstain from activity that is far from being holy.
America used to have “Blue Laws” that closed down shops where six days of business gave the public chance enough to make its purchases. I was away from America from 1953 to 1961. Most of our Blue Laws were little by little done away with during those years. People here were not conscious of the way they were slowly slipping away, but when I came back after eight years the changes struck me hard. I was surprised when a young lady I knew gave up Sunday Mass because she had to work every Sunday in a beauty parlor. I didn’t think the conversation there was all of a holy nature.