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The Lord of the Sabbath

“The Lord of the Sabbath”
A reflection on Matthew 12:1-8
Friday of the Fifteenth Week in Ordinary Time
©️2021 by Gloria M. Chang

The Father’s “house of bread” includes the tabernacle (where David fled in Nob), the cosmic tabernacle containing wheat (the Sabbath crowns creation on the seventh day in Genesis), and Jesus himself (the “bread of life” born in Bethlehem which means “house of bread”).

At that time Jesus was going through a field of grain on the sabbath. His disciples were hungry and began to pick the heads of grain and eat them. When the Pharisees saw this, they said to him, “See, your disciples are doing what is unlawful to do on the sabbath.” He said to them, “Have you not read what David did when he and his companions were hungry, how he went into the house of God and ate the bread of offering, which neither he nor his companions but only the priests could lawfully eat? Or have you not read in the law that on the sabbath the priests serving in the temple violate the sabbath and are innocent? I say to you, something greater than the temple is here. If you knew what this meant, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned these innocent men. For the Son of Man is Lord of the sabbath.”

Matthew 12:1-8

David went to Ahimelech, the priest of Nob, who came trembling to meet him. He asked, “Why are you alone? Is there no one with you?” David answered the priest: “The king gave me a commission and told me, ‘Do not let anyone know anything about the business on which I have sent you or the commission I have given you.’ For that reason I have arranged a particular meeting place with my men. Now what do you have on hand? Give me five loaves, or whatever you can find.” But the priest replied to David, “I have no ordinary bread on hand, only holy bread; if the men have abstained from women, you may eat some of that.” David answered the priest: “We have indeed stayed away from women. In the past whenever I went out on a campaign, all the young men were consecrated—even for an ordinary campaign. All the more so are they consecrated with their weapons today!” So the priest gave him holy bread, for no other bread was on hand except the showbread which had been removed from before the Lord and replaced by fresh bread when it was taken away.

1 Samuel 21:2-7