Friday of the Fifteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Jesus Christ, the liberator
At that time Jesus was going through a field of grain on the sabbath. His disciples were hungry and began to pick the heads of grain and eat them. When the Pharisees saw this, they said to him, “See, your disciples are doing what is unlawful to do on the sabbath.” He said to them, “Have you not read what David did when he and his companions were hungry, how he went into the house of God and ate the bread of offering, which neither he nor his companions but only the priests could lawfully eat? … If you knew what this meant, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned these innocent men. For the Son of Man is Lord of the sabbath.” Mt 12,1-8
To the Jewish, the saturday was the day of the celebration and of the expectation of
the messianic times, with the advent of which every day is an holiday and everything, even the law, is fulfilled. With Jesus these times arrived: what is symbolic has no more sense and it leaves room to the reality, to the essence. The symbols of the temple and of the saturday are obsolete, Jesus does not profane it, he is just beyond. With the passing of the symbols the liberation of the man is also implemented. In very symbolic societies as the Jewish, it happens – who knows for what reasons – that the symbols, since a certain point in time, become more important than the man himself and they end up by crushing him. With the advent of the Messiah in the history, the man is no longer in service on saturday, but is the saturday to be at the service of the man. Due to these reasons, the preaching and public life of Jesus are in constant conflict with the men of the law, whose religiosity results in an asphyxiating succession of rites and observances, which eventually become a tool of oppression of the man by the man. This would appear a problem confined to the Jewish society of Jesus, it not for the fact that in our time other symbols were born. Today the man is almost trapped by the bureaucracy, by the technological progress, by the cult of possession, by the pursuit of the quantity at the expense of the quality, by the idolization of the image at the expense of the substance. Even today, the man needs to be liberated from all these symbolic constraints, to live in a more real, more just, freer and greater way. Jesus is the liberator not only from the sin, but also from all of these social slaveries which cling us from all the sides. How can we be freed from all these influences? In the flow of the everyday life it would seem very difficult, but in our inner world the Lord makes it possible because the man is never a slave if he is free to think, to dream, to hope, to believe, to pray and to work for a different world.