Tuesday of the Second Week in Ordinary Time
The saturday is for the man
As he 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
When, as a boy, I was going with my childhood friends through the vineyards of the Tuscan countryside, it happened sometimes that we picked up two grapes which were not yet mature. If the farmer saw us, he was chasing us, because the not written rule existed that the products of the earth must become ripe. If, however, we were catching the grapes when it was near the time of the vine-harvest, it often happened that the farmer told us, smiling: “Good, eh, the grapes this year!”. There are, namely, rules which apply only to the time of the waiting and when this is over, they automatically expire, because they have no more reason to exist. This is the meaning of the phrase of Jesus: “The sabbath was made for the man, not the man for the sabbath”. The saturday, in fact, was for the jew the celebration day of the messianic expectation, but with Jesus of Nazareth as the Messiah who had already raided the history, the expectation time was over. Everything was clear to Jesus and it began to be so also to his disciples who, quietly, allowed themselves to do what in the past probably they would not have ever done. The problem with those pharisees, who complain to the teacher the behavior of his disciples, is the fact that they do not wait for the Messiah anymore, because they have replaced him with the law. The law became their messiah. In the gospel passage today, the attitude of the disciples tells us, instead, that the process of their liberation from the rules has already begun and it is expected to grow, as they mature in their faith in the Lord and in the love for the neighbour. In other words, the obsolete rules fell, the others are absorbed by the sentiments and the actions inspired by the true faith. All this is summed up by the St. Augustine’s famous phrase, “Ama et fac quod vis”. “Love and do what you want”.