Posted by: fvbcdm | January 21, 2016

Feast of Saint Agnes (21 January 2016)

In the gospel, Our Lord tells us that the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. That was because the self-righteous Pharisees were reprimanding him for letting his disciples pick and eat RAW grain while walking through a wheat field on the Sabbath. And according to their nit-picking rules and regulations, even pulling a few handfuls of grain constituted harvesting, which was forbidden on the Sabbath because it was a form of work.

That passage always reminds me of the wonderful adage that our Jewish brothers and sisters have. It says “If you will keep the Sabbath, the Sabbath will keep you.”  What is meant is that those who observe the Sabbath, or Saturday, as a day of rest and prayer, will retain their connection with the religious community of Judaism and will be conscious of their relationship with God. It is a very true and very beautiful idea. Our external lives reveal our internal lives. You can tell a lot about a Jew by the way he or she observes the Sabbath. And you can tell a lot about a Catholic by the way he or she observes Sunday, receives the Sacraments, keeps the Commandments, lives his/her moral life and teaches his/her children to live.

We need to reflect often upon our identity as Christians and Catholics, followers of Our Lord Jesus Christ, brothers and sisters of the saints, members of the Mystical Body of Christ.  We have such a wonderful variety of religious elements in our lives which give structure and identity to us. I remember clearly how upset some Catholics were back in the 1970s when Pope Paul VI relaxed the church commandment about abstaining from meat on Fridays. These people were resentful of what the Pope had done; they felt that he was taking away from them something that was essentially Catholic. He wasn’t; a disciplinary commandment is not essential to our faith or morals, just as it is no longer required that women cover their heads in church or we fast from midnight before receiving Holy Communion. But these things DO add to the identity that we feel as Catholics, and we can understand how some people resent any change in them.

Let us cling to what is essential: our holy faith, our moral law, the Sacraments, prayer, our devotion to Our Divine Lord and His most holy Mother, and allow these things to shape our spiritual identity and our hope of eternal enjoyment of God, angels, and saints in heaven. Thank you for seeking God’s truth.  God bless you.  Father Victor Brown, O.P.

Note:  This message was composed some years ago.

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