The WORD in Other Words by Fr Roberto Ibay SVD (Philippines)
Saturday Week 22 Ordinary Time, Col 1:21-23, Lk 6:1-5
Laws, policies or structures are formulated by the community to help us live and relate with one another better. They serve as a guide and they challenge our self-centeredness. Likewise, laws invite us to be more community centered.
Today‘s gospel invites us to restore the true spirit of the law specifically on the Sabbath (Sunday/the Lord‘s Day). Living the Sabbath from the vision of Jesus does not hinder us to render more assistance to the people in need in our community; rather, it calls us to be more merciful and compassionate. Living the Sabbath moves us to be more service-oriented, more patient, more open and more inclusive in relating with others.
Observing the Sabbath motivates us to focus and to prioritize more on what we can do or offer to the less fortunate in our community so that they achieve an abundant life. Protecting the good and saving the life of those people in need during the Sabbath is observing the Sabbath too.
Once in a class, students were discussing whether to continue giving the collected goods for the needy in their community. One stood up and said, “We have to deliver the goods now because we did agree to hand them the soonest.” Another also said. “We deliver the goods not only because we had an agreement to give to the recipients immediately but because they really need our act of kindness now considering their situation.”
Observing the Sabbath is not just doing it to fulfill an agreement or a promise but rather, respecting or observing the Sabbath leads us to responding to a greater need. Fulfilling the Sabbath impels us to empathize and to be more sensitive to the needs and aspirations of the people around us.