Ps 116:12-13, 15 & 16bc, 17-18
I will take the cup of salvation, and call on the name of the Lord.
15TH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME
Psalter: Week 3 / (Green)
1st Reading: Ex 11:10 – 12:14
Moses and Aaron had worked all these marvels in the presence of Pharaoh, but Yahweh had made Pharaoh obstinate and he would not let the people of Israel leave his country.
Yahweh spoke to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt and said, “This month is to be the beginning of all months, the first month of your year. Speak to the community of Israel and say to them:
On the tenth day of this month let each family take a lamb, a lamb for each house. If the family is too small for a lamb, they must join with a neighbor, the nearest to the house, according to the number of persons and to what each one can eat.
You will select a perfect lamb without blemish, a male born during the present year, taken from the sheep or goats. Then you will keep it until the fourteenth day of the month.
On that evening all the people will slaughter their lambs and take some of the blood to put on the doorposts and on top of the doorframes of the houses where you eat.
That night you will eat the flesh roasted at the fire with unleavened bread and bitter herbs.
Do not eat the meat lightly cooked or boiled in water but roasted entirely over the fire—the head, the legs and the inner parts. Do not leave any of it until the morning. If any is left till morning, burn it in the fire.
And this is how you will eat: with a belt round your waist, sandals on your feet and a staff in your hand. You shall eat hastily for it is a passover in honor of Yahweh. On that night I shall go through Egypt and strike every firstborn in Egypt, men and animals; and I will even bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt, I, Yahweh! The blood on your houses will be the sign that you are there. I will see the blood and pass over you; and you will escape the mortal plague when I strike Egypt.
This is a day you are to remember and celebrate in honor of Yahweh. It is to be kept as a festival day for all generations forever.
Gospel: Mt 12:1-8
It happened that, Jesus was walking through the wheat ?elds on a Sabbath. His disciples were hungry; and they began to pick some heads of wheat, to crush and to eat the grain. When the Pharisees noticed this, they said to Jesus, “Look at your disciples! They are doing what is prohibited on the Sabbath!”
Jesus answered, “Have you not read what David did, when he and his men were hungry? He went into the House of God, and they ate the bread offered to God, though neither he nor his men had the right to eat it, but only the priests. And have you not read in the law, how, on the Sabbath, the priests in the temple desecrate the Sabbath, yet they are not guilty?
“I tell you, there is greater than the temple here. If you really knew the meaning of the words: It is mercy I want, not sacri?ce, you would not have condemned the innocent.
“Besides, the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.”
One of the ten commandments given by God to Moses runs like this: “No work must be done (on the sabbath)” (Ex 20:10). But what did God mean by “work?” In the course of the centuries the Jewish scribes or specialists of the Law had tried to answer that question by specifying what types of activities could be classified as “work.” Harvesting was obviously one of those. But the Pharisees, who were overscrupulous observers of the Law, believed that plucking heads of wheat while crossing a field was “harvesting” and, therefore, work. Hence their reproach to Jesus in today’s gospel reading.
Naturally Jesus does not agree with this nit-picking approach to the Law. However, on this particular occasion he decides to humor the Pharisees by saying something like this: “Suppose you are right in your definition of what “work” is. But, even so, every rule has its exception, don’t you think?” Then he goes on to point to an occasion when the famous Kind David (one of God’s favorites) broke the Law for a good reason (hunger) and was not blamed by God for doing so. Priests also break the Law, Jesus then adds, by “working” on the Sabbath.
Even good and wise rules must sometimes be broken when their application in particular set of circumstances becomes nonsensical.
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