Gospel Reflection – Tuesday 2nd week in Ordinary Time (16 January) – Lord of the Sabbath
Fr Paul Gooley reads today’s Gospel from Mark (2: 23-28) in which Jesus says to the Pharisees, The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath, so the son of man is master even of the Sabbath”. Fr Paul says in Mark’s account this story is subtly different from the more familiar account in Matthew. In Matthew the disciples are picking corn to eat because they are hungry, whereas here in this Gospel they are pulling the corn up to make a path to get through. An exciting feature of the story is Jesus’ use of the expression ‘son of man’. This is an Aramaic expression for ‘human being’ and the expression was used as a self-reference, like the English word ‘one’; for example, ‘one dislikes…’ or ‘one avoids…’ when the speaker does not want to draw attention to themselves. Jesus uses it in just this way and especially when he speaks about his authority and his Passion ‘the son of man must suffer…’. In the Gospels it is used only by Jesus and on 14 different occasions, all seemingly referring to himself. Certainly, when Jesus comes before the High Priest, again, he refers to himself as ‘the son of man’, and the High Priest tears his garment and cries ‘Blasphemy!’. Scripture scholars still continue to debate whether Jesus was cryptically making such an audacious claim. Fr Paul says, today’s Gospel, though, reminds us that Jesus is both human and divine.