Jesus comes to restore freedom in our relationships with people and things.
Today’s readings can be found here. Read Fr. Epicoco’s brief reflections on the daily Mass readings, Monday through Saturday, here. For Sunday Mass reading commentary from Fr. Rytel-Andrianik, see here.
Reading today’s Gospel, one immediately gets the impression that the Pharisees keep their eyes on Jesus and his disciples so that they can immediately accuse them of disregarding the Law and Tradition. We could even say they are constantly spying on them:
“One sabbath he was going through the cornfields; and as they made their way his disciples began to pluck heads of grain. The Pharisees said to him, ‘Look, why are they doing what is not lawful on the sabbath?’”
More than loving the Law, they seem to be envious of the freedom with which Jesus and his disciples behave.
Freedom is not about doing whatever one wants. Freedom comes when we do not turn the things that should help us be free (the Law) into new slaveries. After all, Jesus did not come to contradict the teachings of Tradition, but to give them their right interpretation.
That is why he refers to David, who ate the bread of the Presence with his companions. He is not justifying his disciples. Instead, he is giving the law a human horizon, so that it can once again bring joy to the people:
“Then he said to them, ‘The sabbath was made for humankind, and not humankind for the sabbath; so the Son of Man is lord even of the sabbath.’”
What the Gospel wants to suggest to us is that sometimes we secretly judge and envy the lives of others because, deep down, we are not happy with ourselves. We are neither free nor happy, and it bothers us when others are. Jesus comes to restore freedom in our relationships with people and things.
Father Luigi Maria Epicoco is a priest of the Aquila Diocese and teaches Philosophy at the Pontifical Lateran University and at the ISSR ‘Fides et ratio,’ Aquila. He dedicates himself to preaching, especially for the formation of laity and religious, giving conferences, retreats and days of recollection. He has authored numerous books and articles. Since 2021, he has served as the Ecclesiastical Assistant in the Vatican Dicastery for Communication and columnist for the Vatican’s daily newspaper L’Osservatore Romano.