Monday, Oct. 26th 2020

Monday of the Thirtieth Week in Ordinary Time

Today's Mass Readings

 

As a former pastor of two rural parishes, I was hesitant to talk too much about working on Sundays. Sometimes it just meant the livelihood of farmers if it was the only dry day to cut hay or it was calving season in spring. However, there were plenty who made it known that the earlier the Mass on Sunday the better for getting back out to work.

Christians can sometimes look harshly on Jewish laws. It is easy to make the Pharisees the archvillains of religion. However, as Fr. Simon Tugwell, OP writes, “they were probably the best men of their time, the most religious, the most devoted to the will of God, the most eager to express their loyalty to him in obedience to his every word, the most determined never to compromise with the world around them” (Ways of Imperfection). Even observant Jews today refrain from work to focus on what is most important: worship of God, time spent with family, and relaxing to realize that human dignity is worth more than productivity. As Midwestern farmers can tell us, it is often harder to sit still in silence than to stay busy.

As admirable as a strict Sabbath is, the Lord must remind us of the point of it all: “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath” (Mark 2:27). Just as domesticated animals need our care to survive even one day, so must we show charity to our neighbor over otherwise sensible rules. If the day of rest is truly for the day of worship, no greater glory can be shown God than to praise Him for benefits.

Reflection Question: Do I, therefore, let interruptions to my prayer and recreation irritate me? Alternately, do I work when I could be engaging in holy leisure?

Reflection by Fr. Pachomius Meade, OSB

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