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Follow the law with love rather than for the sake of duty

January 17,  Tuesday of the Second Week in Ordinary Time
Daily Readings: Hebrews 6:10-20 Gospel: Mark 2:23-28

As Jesus was passing through a field of grain on the sabbath, his disciples began to pick the heads of grain and crush them in their hands to eat.  The Pharisees complained to Jesus about the unlawful act of his disciples on the Sabbath day. He said to them, "Have you never read what David did when he and his companions were hungry? "The Son of Man is lord even of the Sabbath," he said. "The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath."

According to the Pharisees, picking grain heads means "to harvest" and crushing them means "to thresh." Both agricultural tasks were forbidden on the Sabbath, the day of rest.

The Lord indicated that the Sabbath precept should not triumph over basic requirements when He said “the Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath.” (cf. Mk 2:27). Less significant precepts of the Law must give way to more important ones. A ceremonial precept must give way to a natural law precept.

Saint Augustine said, "Love and do as you please." Do we allow lesser things to trump the love we put into our work? Do we work, forgive, correct, attend Sunday Mass, care for the sick, and obey the commandments because we have to or because we love God? Sometimes, we do it for the sake of duty. We fail to perform with love. With love, we will not harm others. We will not do evil things to others. We will think of the good things for others. May these thoughts help us revitalize all our acts with the love which our Lord has implanted in our hearts to love Him.

According to Pope Benedict XVI, “Sabbath intends to participate in the rest and with the peace of God. But when man refuses the ‘leisure of God’ (worshipping), then he becomes a ‘business slave.’”

We should emphasize the essence of the law than the letter of the law. We should follow the law with love rather than for the duty-sake. Let us try to fulfil the law with love for God and neighbors more than for the sake of duty. We should fulfil the Sabbath so that we might not be a slave of business. Let us be aware always that Sabbath is for man, and man is not for Sabbath, as Jesus reminded us.


Radio Veritas Asia (RVA), a media platform of the Catholic Church, aims to share Christ. RVA started in 1969 as a continental Catholic radio station to serve Asian countries in their respective local language, thus earning the tag “the Voice of Asian Christianity.”  Responding to the emerging context, RVA embraced media platforms to connect with the global Asian audience via its 21 language websites and various social media platforms.