The Sabbath Made For Man

Updated on February 18, 2020

6th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A

The Greek philosopher, Plato, four hundred years before Christ, wrote of Two horses in the human heart, namely: Passion and Reason. Passion is the wild untamed horse with boundless strength and energy, but very hard to control and direct. Reason, on the one hand, is the tamed horse, accustomed to the reins, disciplined in stride and responding to directions. A chariot hitched to a pair of Passions might go anywhere but would surely crash or overturn before long. However, a charioteer who selects a pair of Reasons will be too cautious and fearful to go anywhere worthwhile. But if Passion and Reason can be paired, then the powerful energy is harnessed, and the journey of life can be enjoyed. (Sylvester O’Flynn in The Good News of Mathew’s Year).

Today, the 6th Sunday in Ordinary Time, the readings strongly affirm as a theme the need of rules, but rules are to be understood as a means towards the end, which is a life of spiritual strength and commitment with God. As I reflect on this Sunday’s theme, I came across a beautiful article entitled, “10 Of Many Reasons To Go To Church––Even When You Don’t Feel Like It” by Rhonda Stoppe (A Baptist pastor’s wife). A lot of us, if not all, come to Church deeply motivated by sheer obligation. “Well, Father, that is what the Church prescribes, right?” As there are 10 Commandments, there too, are the 5 Precepts of the Catholic Church, the first of which is to attend Mass on Sundays and holy days of obligation. True enough, but I believe that we have not fully matured in our faith, if we simply come to Mass of Sundays because of obligation. Laws, precepts, or rules are simply means toward an end. Let me highlight three out of the 10 reasons, the author pointed out:

#7. To Teach Your Kids to Love the Church. The author underscored this unfortunate truth which we also experience in our parishes: “Many times parents would drop off their student asking us to ‘fix them.’” Often the parents grew up in church but walked away after they grew up. Most [of them] never really had a relationship with Jesus. However, when their own kids were at risk, it was to the church they often returned. But they usually didn’t come themselves. Rather, they dropped their kids off in hopes [that] the “good” would rub off on them.”

In my final presentation to parents of our Confirmation candidates this year, I highlighted how important it is for parents to catechize their kids/teens at home and be their example and guide. If you want them to love the Mass; the Church as their community; and be passionate about ministering in their Church after they get confirmed, you just have to be that example for them to follow. There’s no going around it. You’ve entrusted your kids/teens to us, but before and after that education is your obligation. Teach your kids/teens to love the Church by loving the Church yourselves. Luke 6:40 says, “the student will become like his teacher.” And so, it is not the knowledge that will make him/her to become good Catholic, but the way the teacher lives up to his/her teaching.

#8. To be a Light to Your Community. This is deeply rooted to the theme we had last Sunday. Jesus exhorted His disciples to become, “Light of the world and salt of the earth.” Among the many beautiful implications of these images is to live in communion with Christ. The Church is built upon a solid foundation of communion. Communion makes us alive in the Church; communion unites us with Christ; and communion makes us realize our spiritual goals.

Similarly, the author in this article affirmed this truth when she said, “Everyone is looking for acceptance and a place to belong. Whether people admit it or not, they all long to be known and loved for who they are. When God’s people commit to fiercely love each other by covering sins with love and readily forgiving each other, their love will be a light that shines brightly in a crooked and perverse generation. Let it begin with you.”

#9. To Bear Each Other's Burdens. In the letter of Paul to the Galatians (6:2) teaches us to bear each other’s burdens to fulfill the law of Christ. In the different seasons of life, at times, we find ourselves in the wintertime. Those times when our faith is tested and we feel that there’s no hope in life. Our desperation makes it hard for us to wake up in the morning or do our daily chores and routine. We find ourselves groping in the dark seeking for the light to come. Then we begin to ask ourselves, will this ever end? Will we be able to see the silver lining at the of the tunnel? But if we are part of a church, the family of God, we will never feel alone. When life is going great, we have the affirmation of others. And when life throws a curve, we’re blessed by loving concern, support, and prayer.

That said, do not come to church ONLY when you are encountering the “wintertime” in your life. Come even in times of abundance and blessings. Allow God to use you to be an encouragement to others who are looking for help. Be each one’s springtime to be able to see God’s graces and blessings unfold before their very eyes.

Rev. Curtis Fussell, a Christian Minister gave this beautiful advice about wives: “My wife and I have a rule. We don't fight on Saturday nights. You know why? Because I have to preach on Sunday morning. Now I don't want you to get the idea that we fight the other six nights of the week. Quite frankly, I gave her an unconditional surrender several years ago. Husbands let me teach you a lesson that will save you a lot of grief. When it comes to your wife, if you lose the battle, you win the war..”

Laws, precepts and rules. They are made to create order in the society and the world at large. But though they may be mandatory, urgent, and binding, they simply are means toward and end. They are NOT ends in themselves. If we love God and His Church, it is not because Church law or God’s commandment obliges us so. Remember what Jesus said in Scriptures, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.


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    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 

      7 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Very interesting insight. Fascinating concepts.


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