The Gospel According to Mark – 2018.06.03
The Sabbath was Made for Man
The homily for today is cautionary tale.
On the one hand it serves as an indictment of the people who plotted against Jesus, those who desired to see an end to his ministry and who plotted his murder.
On the other hand it serves to separate the ministry of Jesus, who was himself a Pharisee, from the establishment of Pharisaic Judaism, which in the period of the early Church, had not converted to Christianity, and whose membership was extremely hostile to it.
However, the most important aspect of the narrative is the message, that the ordinances of God, the laws and customs of the people, exist to serve humankind, not the other way around.
Jesus is a good theologian, he makes the argument first on the basis of tradition and scripture, and then on the grounds of justice.
The miracle that is performed need not be taken literally, it is a metaphor, and as a metaphor it serve to put the exclamation point on the rest of the narrative.
The power to heal comes from God, god would not have granted such power in contravention of God’s law, giving the proof to Jesus, that he has correctly interpreted the law, and stands in divine favor.
The Son of Man is master even of the Sabbath
One sabbath day, Jesus happened to be taking a walk through the cornfields, and his disciples began to pick ears of corn as they went along. And the Pharisees said to him, ‘Look, why are they doing something on the sabbath day that is forbidden?’ And he replied, ‘Did you never read what David did in his time of need when he and his followers were hungry – how he went into the house of God when Abiathar was high priest, and ate the loaves of offering which only the priests are allowed to eat, and how he also gave some to the men with him?’
And he said to them, ‘The sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath; the Son of Man is master even of the sabbath.’
He went again into a synagogue, and there was a man there who had a withered hand. And they were watching him to see if he would cure him on the sabbath day, hoping for something to use against him. He said to the man with the withered hand, ‘Stand up out in the middle!’ Then he said to them, ‘Is it against the law on the sabbath day to do good, or to do evil; to save life, or to kill?’ But they said nothing. Then, grieved to find them so obstinate, he looked angrily round at them, and said to the man, ‘Stretch out your hand.’ He stretched it out and his hand was better. The Pharisees went out and at once began to plot with the Herodians against him, discussing how to destroy him.
9th Sunday in Ordinary Time