Gospel: Lk 6:1-5
One Sabbath Jesus was going through a field of grain, and his disciples began to pick heads of grain, crushing them in their hands for food. Some of the Pharisees asked them, “Why do you do what is forbidden on the Sabbath?“ Then Jesus spoke up and asked them, “Have you never read what David did when he and his men were hungry? He entered the house of God, took and ate the bread of the offering, and even gave some to his men, though only priests are allowed to eat that bread.“ And Jesus added, “The Son of Man is Lord and rules over the Sabbath.“
Human laws are necessary. They create order and help us regulate our personal and social life. To a great extent, they simplify life. However, they also have their dark side: they stifle personal reflection. With their collective dos and don‘ts, they discourage individual morality and situation-specific responses. One of the (many) reasons why Marx and Nietzsche were critical of religion was that religious laws often degenerated into mindless practices that stifled individual quest and discouraged people from making a critique of life from their own personal standpoint.
Jesus reminds his opponents that religion pure and simple goes far beyond collective morality and traditional practices, and truly enables one to respond to life‘s challenges from personal convictions. Genuine religiousness facilitates a deeper understanding of the law and its purposes, and provides the freedom to break them when they are superseded by the needs of one‘s sisters and brothers.