Saturday, 14 March 2009

Keep the Sabath Holy (Jn 3:13-25)

(Sorry my reflection this week is a bit weak... I will try and prepare myself better during the coming week)

This Sunday, the 3rd Sunday of Lent, tells us about the first time Jesus goes to Jerusalem for the Passover during His public ministry. Jesus went up to Jerusalem for this import Jewish feast, a custom He always observed as we can read in the gospel of St. Luke: "Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the feast of the Passover. (Luk 2:41 RSV)" in accordance with the Law (Ex. 23:17).

We can see here that Jesus was an observant Jew, he followed the rules of the Jewish religion. A first reaction could be that God is above the law and that it does not apply to God, but that is not the point I think. At the baptism Jesus himself said "Let it be so now; for thus it is fitting for us to fulfil all righteousness. (Mat 3:15 RSV)".

The point is that the Law was created to help the Jews to live lives orientated towards God. The command to come three times a year before God (cf. Ex 23:17) is not there to annoy them, but so that they would stay in touch with God, so God would become a real part of their lives. The law is there to lead the people of God to a real relation with him, and prevents them from staying.

And so it is the same for us. In the first reading (Ex 20:1-17) we read the commandment to keep the Sabbath holy. This, and the Church's subsequent teaching that we have to attend mass on the Sunday, is not there to annoy us, but to help us. For God worked for six days "and rested (Exo 20:11 RSV)" the seventh. I think this word rest is very important.

In Genesis 2:15 we read that God took the man and rest (נוח in Hebrew) him in the garden. Man was in the garden with God, he rested there, he dwelt with God in peace. This was before the fall, when all was still in harmony. So too for us, we need a day of rest. It is imoprtant to have a balance in our lives, to spent time with the family etc, but it is even more important to find rest in God. God is an intergral part of our life, or atleast shoud be... Knowing God has to make a difference, and we will start noticing the difference it makes in our lives when we find this rest in God, the deep peace that Adam had when he dwelt in the garden before the fall... a deep unity...

So when Jesus drove out all those who "make my Father's house a house of trade (Joh 2:16 RSV)" we have to remind ourselves that we should not make the Sunday a day of trade. We should instead make it a day centered on the essentials of life. Our bodies are "a temple of the Holy Spirit (1Co 6:19 RSV)", so in a way we should not only go to Church and attend mass for 40 minutes, but also make our whole day, and indeed out whole being, "a house of prayer (Mat 21:13 RSV)".

So in normal life, the six days can be very hectic, and even if we want to we sometimes do not get a good oportunity to get in touch with Jesus, to spend some quality time with Him in somekind of way. But we should try at least to keep the Sunday holy, and make it a day in which we encouter our God... the only Truth that can set us free and fullfill the deepest disire of our hearts.

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