Readings for Tuesday January 18, 2011

First Reading: Hebrews 6:10-20
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 111
Gospel: Mark 2:23-28

As Jesus was passing through a field of grain on the sabbath, his disciples began to make a path while picking the heads of grain. At this the Pharisees said to him, “Look, why are they doing what is unlawful on the sabbath?” He said to them, “Have you never read what David did when he was in need and he and his companions were hungry? How he went into the house of God when Abiathar was high priest and ate the bread of offering that only the priests could lawfully eat, and shared it with his companions?” Then he said to them, “The sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath. That is why the Son of Man is lord even of the sabbath.” (Mk 2:23-28)

Pessimists, "nay-sayers", and "negative nancies." These are the people who always point out your faults, only look at what you do wrong, and look at the glass as being "half empty." I am sure that these words are making each of us think of people in our lives who fit this description. We see in today's gospel that Jesus and His disciples had their own fair share of pessimists and negative nancies. It was the sabbath, and the disciples of Jesus began picking the heads of grain in order to get some food and nourishment. Of course, since it was unlawful to work on the sabbath, the pharisees jumped all over Jesus and His disciples. The scribes and pharisees took every opportunity to point out what Jesus was doing wrong and to try to trap Him in something that He said. They were always trying to find fault in Him, instead of opening their eyes to what He was offering and opening their ears to what He was saying.

The disciples however, took a different approach. They listened to Jesus, they saw that He offered something more, even if they didn't fully understand it, something in their hearts screamed "follow Him!" Even though they had the "nay-sayers" all around them, they clung to their master who gave them comfort and protection. The disciples chose wisely when they chose to follow Christ, even on the sabbath.

While it is easy for us to judge the pharisees in this reading as being blind to who Jesus was and what He offered, perhaps we should take this example as a time to look at ourselves. How often are we blind to Jesus in our own lives? How often to we let rules or responsibilities distract us away from where our Saviour is leading us? How often do we succumb to the pressure of the pessimists and "nay-sayers" in our lives who seek make us doubt and to pull us away from Christ?

May we be granted ears that are deaf to the world, and open to God.

Father above, we thank you for the gift of this day. We thank you and give you praise for your love and mercy. Lord, may we not fear this world, but only fear a life without you. Give us the strength and courage to persevere in this life, so that we may better serve you in this world. Lord, we pray for our culture, we pray that all might value life and human dignity in our world. we ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.

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