Sixteen years ago, men flew planes into the World Trade Center buildings and the Pentagon. More men failed to reach their target when heroic men and women rebelled against their hijackers. What would bring people to commit such an evil action? How could anyone think that crashing planes full of people into buildings full of people was an OK thing to do? They, like the Pharisees, were following a law that they believed to be from God. They believed that because their imam declared a holy war, they could commit atrocities. The laws of Islam, as the terrorists understood it, permitted this.
Today Jesus asks all of us, “is it lawful to do good on the Sabbath rather than to do evil, to save life rather than to destroy it?”
A new person shows up at the parish. They aren’t dressed well, and are acting strangely, but seem to want to talk to someone. Mass starts in 2 minutes, and I don’t really have time to talk, so I find something to do so that I look busy.
Is it lawful to do good on the Sabbath rather than to do evil?
I meet some friends for lunch. After the usual pleasantries, we begin discussing what is happening in the neighborhood. It turns into gossip about all the people I don’t like.
How do my actions save life, rather than destroy it?
We do not know the day nor the hour that God will call us to himself. As we mourn the loss of life on and after September 11, let it be a reminder for us to remain ever vigilant about the state of our own souls.
Monday of the Twenty-Third Week in Ordinary Time
Col 1:24–2:3; Ps 62:6-7, 9; Lk 6:6-11
Today’s Readings: Is 58:9b-14; Ps 86:1-2, 3-4, 5-6; Lk 5:27-32
Jesus calls Levi—Matthew—to follow him in today’s Gospel reading. Levi leaves everything behind and immediately follows Jesus. He follows Jesus to learn the way of truth, justice, and happiness. Isaiah tells us the way to follow Jesus in the first reading. Those who treat others well, following God’s laws, will be called “repairer of the breach” and “restorer of ruined homesteads.”
But the second portion of Isaiah’s message looks at something many people do not always think about. He reminds us that the Sabbath is supposed to be holy. “If you hold back your foot on the Sabbath… by not following your ways, seeking your own interests, or speaking with malice—Then you shall delight in the Lord.” How many of us treat Sunday as just another day? We go to Mass, but after that it’s Saturday, part 2. There is nothing inherently evil in going out, seeing a movie, going shopping, etc., but what are we doing throughout the day to glorify God? Do we spend extra time with family or friends, building up the community of God by building up our relationships with other people? Do we pray a rosary together with others, or maybe by ourselves? Do we spend a little extra time throughout the day reflecting on the beauty and glory of God’s creation?
Let us remember to truly keep holy the Sabbath. Not by cutting out everything we do and having no fun at all, but by intentionally involving God in all of our Sunday activities. (And if we wouldn’t invite God to come along with us, maybe we need to reconsider what we’re doing!)