The disciples pick corn on the Sabbath
In our Gospel reflection today, Fr Paul says we start reading Chapter 12 in Matthew (12:1-8). In the beginning of the chapter, Matthew tells three stories about how Jesus interprets the law, which also stress the authority of Jesus.
In this Gospel, we need to understand that Jesus and the disciples are walking on the Sabbath. They are hungry and it is not allowed to use tools; if you are hungry and picked an ear of corn, by hand, then that was permitted, which is why Jesus goes on to express to the Pharisees, who have raised this issue, that there are circumstances in which the Sabbath regulations can be broken. He uses David and the priests as examples.
The bottom line here is that Jesus is responding to the human needs he sees around him rather than slavishly following the law or regulations that have been set down. Jesus says this because something greater is present, he says that something greater than the temple exists.
Matthew is concentrating on the authority of Jesus and that’s why we hear at the very end of the Gospel ‘for the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath’. These two statements really establish the authority of Jesus.
At the heart of our gospel today, Fr Paul says, is that Jesus was responding to the human needs of the disciples. For our reflection today, he invites us to ask ourselves ‘How can I respond to the needs of those around me at the moment? How can I do the same? How can I be Christ-like to those around me?