In the Gospel of Luke Chapter 6, we read about the disciples who were hungry and begin to pluck and eat grain on the Sabbath (which was not lawful to do on the Sabbath) and how Jesus justifies their act when the Pharisees question him.
beings are not for Sabbath but the Sabbath is for human beings.
The Pharisees and Sadducees were always critical about everything
what Jesus did. They always complained and gossiped about what Jesus did. They idolized
certain rituals and laws of Moses. Jesus was against idolizing the law and
idolizing the Sabbath, and he said human beings are not for Sabbath but the Sabbath
is for human beings.
Around 2000 years have passed since the time of Jesus, but
the teaching of Jesus should not be diluted over the years. The teaching is
still fresh and the Bible is still the same. Sometimes the interpretation gets
manipulated, diluted and adulterated and in the end, it can slowly disappear. This
is what happens to most of the religions in the world but this should not
happen to Christianity.
We celebrate the death of Jesus in every Holy Eucharist. We
all love Jesus, we all have our own rubrics and rituals for every Holy Mass,
and every spiritual activity, but the Lord says, more than all these, the love
of God, the love of human beings, compassion and mercy should persist and continue.
Jesus saw that his disciples were violating the Sabbath by
eating the wheat, because they were hungry and had not eaten for a long time. Jesus
kept quiet because for Him, compassion was more important than the law. Some people,
who did not know that the disciples had not eaten for many days, started criticizing
the act of the disciples, which Jesus justified.
The Lord says that He is the Master of the Sabbath.
Sometimes we do not listen to the Master and instead we follow the laws,
forgetting the Master. However, the voice of the Master is more important than anything
that is written. Jesus says that compassion and mercy is more important than sacrifice.
and laws should not become our idols
We read of Saint Vincent de Paul, who during his time did many
great works, almost equal to what Saint Mother Teresa did. He took care of
thousands of poor people wherever he was especially in Paris, France. In the 16th
century, it was not so easy to do charity and to reach out to many people due
to the lack of facilities we now have in this modern world. Even though he did
not have much money and struggled each day to feed the poor people, he did not
deny any of them but took care of all of them.
He had some women followers who were helping him (a
religious congregation that he started) and sometimes when these women were not
able to help the sick people in dire need (due to their own religious duties
and obligations, which they had to follow), he told them that these poor people
were their masters. When the women explained to him that they had to first perform
their religious duties, which they could not skip, he said that sometimes it is
good to forget God for God and told them to leave their prayer aside and to go
and take care of the poor.
This is exactly what Jesus was telling the people. Sometimes
the rule and law become idols in front of us and we forget the empty stomachs
standing in front of us. Just as the Pharisees were looking at the law when the
disciples were eating the grains on empty stomachs. We can see these
contradictions in our own spiritual life. Sometimes we hold onto certain unnecessary
things forgetting the bigger things – the truth.
For example, some people worship the Eucharist so solemnly
during Adoration but may not value Jesus as much when He comes without the gold
plated monstrance, accompaniments, lights, candles and incense. They may fail
to see the divinity of God in the Eucharist during Mass. This is a big
contradiction. We need to rethink about our spiritual life and our spirituality.
the best for anything connected to God
We see many people busy spending time and money to decorate
and maintain their parish churches and cathedrals. For example, we spend a lot
of money to maintain our Christian historical sites and heritage buildings and
would go to any extent to maintain it but inside the Church, there could be a rusted
altar, chalice, paten, and worn-out altar cloths. These are the most precious
things. It is not the temple, which makes it holy. It is the Lord Jesus who
comes inside the chalice and paten and makes the temple holy. We forget this
fact. Hence we focus on beautifying only the outside but how many of us have
sponsored a new chalice, paten, altar cloth or new altar – anything that is
used for the service of God? These are the things that are used for God.
The holy things should be the holy ones and the best ones. The
money should be spent for this more than anything else. If these holy things
are not holy, every parishioner is responsible and answerable in front of God,
not just the parish priest who may not have money to buy all these things. It
is the duty of the parishioners to support the priest in buying all these things.
What is the use of decorating our homes, when the home of our God is not decorated
properly? What is the use when the house of the Lord, the Tabernacle of the
Lord, the chalice, paten and altar of the Lord are not kept clean?
We need to make sure that anything that is given to God,
used for God and surrendered to God is the best.
We may give old or torn notes during the offertory but when
we visit a friend, we tend to buy the best. When we go to the church, remember we
are not going to meet a beggar sitting on the roadside whom we would normally
give the old coins and useless notes, but we are going to meet the King of
Kings and we are celebrating the Holy Eucharist of the Lord of Lords, the Lord
of this universe. Therefore, always make sure to give the best for God. We
should always give the best for anything connected to God.
take anything that is Holy for granted
We read in the Book of Malachi 1:6 ‘A son honors his father, and servants their master. If
then I am a father, where is the honor due me? And if I am a master, where is
the respect due me? says the Lord of hosts
to you, O priests, who despise my name. You say, “How have we despised your
Here the Word of God is correcting the priests. The Lord is
angry with the priests because they are not honoring the Lord. This priesthood
consists not only of the ministerial priesthood but also of the royal
priesthood. All those who have received baptism have the royal priesthood and
participate in the royal priesthood of Christ. We have a duty to honor our
Master and Lord. We honor and respect our spiritual fathers, parish priests, bishops,
elders, political leaders, police officers and everyone who is due respect but
the Lord says where is the respect and honor due me ? Sometimes, even when the
Blessed Sacrament is exposed, we do not feel like bowing down and spending time
We read in the Book of Malachi 1:7 ‘By offering polluted food on my altar. And you say, “How
have we polluted it?” By thinking that the Lord’s table may be despised.’ We may not care about what is being
offered on the altar. We think it is the responsibility of the parish priest.
We need to make sure the holy things used in our parish church are the best. Even
in case the parish priest forgets, we should take the initiative of getting the
best. We should not place the body and blood of our Lord Jesus in a rusted paten
We are taking the holy table and everything that is holy
for granted. Think about your own home – where are all the consecrated things which
are blessed by a priest like the Holy Bible, the rosary, medals, Holy Water, etc.
kept, and what is the respect we give to it? Let your children see the respect
we give to all consecrated things. When you pass by your altar at home, remember
and feel the presence of God there. Let your children see you standing in front
of your altar and making the sign of the cross. Even when we are busy doing
many things at home, let us take a minute to stand in front of the altar and
talk to the Lord. Let your children see, learn, study and come up this way.
By thinking that the Lords table may be despised, you are
polluting the altar. In the book of Malachi 1:8 we read ‘ When you offer blind animals in sacrifice, is that not
wrong? And when you offer those that are lame or sick, is that not wrong?’. According to the Jewish law, they could
only sacrifice an unblemished lamb – the perfect lamb. However, some of them
manipulated and painted the lambs, as they did not want to give the best for
God. They manipulated the sacrifices in such a way that no one noticed it. When
you do not give the best for God, you are defiling and defaming Gods’ name. This is
the second commandment ‘do not use the name of God in vain’. It means that we
have to give whatever named after God and for God, the utmost care and respect.
If you do not give the best for God, you are degrading His name.
dedicated to God should be dealt with care
In the book Leviticus 22:2, the Lord spoke to Moses,
Aaron and his sons to deal carefully with the sacred donations of the people of
Israel, which they dedicate to me, so that they may not profane my holy name; I
am the Lord’.
Anything that is dedicated to God should be carefully dealt
with. What is dedicated to God is not only donations but all the things in the
Church, even the priests and religious who are dedicated and set apart for God.
If not, we are profaning the name of God. It is a sin against the second
commandment. Donations does not mean not only the money and things but also the
people who are dedicated and set apart for God, and even the Eucharistic
ministers behavior and attitude in front of the community.
What will happen to those who deal with the Holy Eucharist carelessly?
We read in Leviticus Verse 3 ‘Say to them: If anyone
among all your offspring throughout your generations comes near the sacred
donations, which the people of Israel dedicate to the Lord, while he is in a state of uncleanness, that person
shall be cut off from my presence: I am the Lord.’ Anybody who comes to serve the
Lord, should be holy or else they will lose the presence, protection and anointing
In the Book of Numbers 18:32 we read ‘You shall incur no guilt by reason of it, when you have
offered the best of it. But you shall not profane the holy gifts of the
Israelites, on pain of death’. Even if you are going to die, do
not desecrate the holy things.
In the book of Leviticus 5:14-15: ‘The Lord spoke to
Moses, saying: When any of you commit a trespass and sin unintentionally in any
of the holy things of the Lord, you
shall bring, as your guilt offering to the Lord, a ram without blemish from the flock, convertible into
silver by the sanctuary shekel; it is a guilt offering’.
have to do penance, even if you unknowingly commit sin because it is not God
who is punishing us, it is the sin that is punishing us. You cannot argue in
front of the devil, he is waiting for a prey and victim. If it is God who is
punishing us for our sins, we will be saved. He will never do that. He will
find an excuse to save us but the devil is destroying us and bringing the
consequences for our sins and he is trying his best to take hold of us. Even if
you commit sin unknowingly, there will be consequences. The Lord wants to help
us and tells us to repent and that he will save us, stand for us, argue for us
and justify us.
have to teach the people the importance of holiness
In the book of Deuteronomy 32:51 , God said to Moses and Aaron ‘because both of you broke faith with me among the
Israelites at the waters of Meribath-kadesh in the wilderness of Zin, by
failing to maintain my holiness among the Israelites.’
All the priests are responsible and accountable in front of
God if they are not able to maintain the holiness of God among the people. It
is the duty of every priest to teach the people what is right and what is
wrong. You have to understand the pain of a priest; it is not easy to correct
people openly because they may feel hurt, even if it is done with lots of
humility and respect. They may still react. That is why many priests are forced
to keep quiet but it their responsibility to correct them, even if the people persecute
In the book of Ezekiel 22:26 we read ‘Its priests have done violence to my teaching and have
profaned my holy things; they have made no distinction between the holy and the
common, neither have they taught the difference between the unclean and the
clean, and they have disregarded my sabbaths, so that I am profaned among
The people are not taught about the respect and reverence
they should give when they come for the Holy Mass, the dress code that they should
follow and the way to receive Holy Communion. Sometimes these violations take place
in front of the priest and the priest is forced to keep quiet. All those who
are responsible in forcing the priest to keep quiet will be answerable and
accountable in front of God. The Lord says He is profaned among the priests
because they are not teaching the people what is right and wrong.
In the same way, the parents have to teach their children
what is right and wrong, even if it hurts them, the children should be told
lovingly. Maybe the children are not aware of the importance
of holiness or of how much Jesus sacrificed and how he died for us all on Calvary.
camp must be Holy
In the book of Deuteronomy 23:14, we read ‘Because the Lord your God
travels along with your camp, to save you and to hand over your enemies to you,
therefore your camp must be holy, so that he may not see anything indecent
among you and turn away from you’.
Your camp means your home – wherever you are. The Lord is
coming to protect and save you and hand over your enemies to you. There is a condition
that your camp must be holy, your home, your room, your body, your mobile phone
and computer and everything you have should be holy.
If there is anything unholy and indecent amongst you, God
will turn away from you. God has turned away from many families. The moment the
Lord wants to step into your house, the devils are already there inside – the evil
spirits of smoking, alcohol, drugs, immorality, lust, unholy relationships, hatred
and revenge are already living in our homes. Then where is the room for God?
We have a tradition, according to the law of the Church, that
if any desecration has taken place in any holy place, then that cannot be used
for anything holy anymore, unless and until it is consecrated again.
If your house is considered as holy, and something unholy
has taken place in it, how can you expect the blessing of the Lord without
consecrating it again? How can you pray there without consecrating it again? Even
if you pray, how can you believe that your prayer will reach heaven, because
this home is already desecrated? That is why in the Church, we have the
tradition of inviting the priest once in a while to consecrate and bless the
home. It is not a formality but something that is needed. Therefore, the Lord
says that your camp must be holy so that He may not see anything indecent among
you and turn away from you.
In the Book of Leviticus 26:12 we read ‘And I will walk among you, and will be your God, and you
shall be my people’.The Lord says I will walk around among you
and in your house, as I am your Father, I am your Master. If you really believe
this Word of God, how can you keep your room, your house or anything in your
house unholy? And how can you expect God to come in your home which is already
desecrated with so many immoral activities and with so many evil things and
then you also want to welcome the Holy Spirit.
In the Book of Wisdom 6:10 we read
‘For they will be made holy who observe holy things in holiness,
and those who have been taught them will find a defense’. If you
observe holy things in holiness, the Lord will make you holy – the Holy Eucharist,
your family prayer, the holy things in your home should be dealt with, kept and
used in holiness, and then you will made holy.
In the Book of Ezekiel 44:8 we read ‘And you have not kept charge of my sacred offerings; but
you have appointed foreigners[a] to act for you in keeping my charge in my sanctuary.’ God
says I am watching everyone whom you have put in charge and unholy people
should not be dealing with holy things.
In the Book of Ezekiel 34:8 we read ‘As I live, says the Lord God, because my sheep have become a prey, and my sheep have
become food for all the wild animals, since there was no shepherd; and because
my shepherds have not searched for my sheep, but the shepherds have fed
themselves, and have not fed my sheep;’. Another
problem that the Church faces is that we are busy maintaining our own communities,
being satisfied with what we have. We have no desire for evangelization,
reaching out and saving the souls. We Christians have lost the zeal for the
Word of God. We are only trying to maintain our own families and after that we
are happy and satisfied but we do not have any compassion, mercy or a spirit of
evangelization like Saint Mother Teresa had or like Saints Peter and Paul who sacrificed
their lives for the whole humanity by going around and preaching the Gospel and
converting the people. Remember the missionary work is not just restricted to
the priests and nuns; it is the duty of every baptized Christian.
Let us examine our conscience and see where we stand. We
are not even able to educate and evangelize our own husbands, wives, and children.
We have already failed in our own families.
Let us ask forgiveness from God and tell Him we are sorry that
we have failed in our duty and responsibility. ‘Lord, I have become a small
island in my own family and with my own preoccupied desires. I am sorry Lord.
Help me to be compassionate and merciful. Help me to be an evangelist, to reach
out to people and help me to have the zeal to save the souls of this world.’