We know how the interactions between Jesus and the Pharisees affected the Pharisees. They resented everything Jesus said and did, and sought occasion to put him out of the picture. But I cannot help but think that for Jesus, these occasions had to be rather frustrating. Here are the most educated of the Jews, the people he came to save, and they just were not getting the point.
Jesus’ point in today’s gospel is that the Sabbath is not the goal in and of itself. What is important is that God should be glorified in everything that we do, not that we spend time criticizing what others are doing. The path to holiness consists in tending to our own spiritual house and not in dwelling on what others are doing. And these religious leaders should have known better, they should have taken better care of their people: perhaps had the Pharisees provided something for the worshippers to eat, those who were hungry would not have had to risk violating the law.
Today’s readings speak to all of us about our true vocation as worshippers. We were made – all of us – to give honor and glory to God. In order to fulfill that vocation, our worship then must be authentic and joyful and a serious priority. We must get all the details right – not the miniscule details crossing every “t” and dotting every “i” – but the details of taking care of one another, and making our worship mean something in our lives.
We were made to worship God in Spirit and truth. We can do that by making every moment, every action of our lives, an occasion of worship – because that’s what worship really is. The Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath. May his lordship in our lives lead us to fulfill our vocation as a worshipping people.