Friday, January 25, 2013

Preparing for the Sabbath

Today is Friday, and a good day to reflect on the meaning of the Sabbath and an even better day to begin preparing for it.  In this, I do not mean the cleaning and cooking, but preparing the heart to receive God's word.  I am reading through a book I was given entitled Rediscover Catholicism by Matthew Kelly.  In it, he talks about how to prepare for Sunday Mass by reading the scriptures earlier in the week, allowing them to seep in and settle in to our soul so that we are more receptive to the message of Christ on Sunday.  So, I did.  Here are the fruits of my meditation on this Sunday's readings:

“Today is holy to the LORD your God.
Do not be sad, and do not weep”—
for all the people were weeping as they heard the words of the law.
He said further: “Go, eat rich foods and drink sweet drinks,
and allot portions to those who had nothing prepared;
for today is holy to our LORD.
Do not be saddened this day,
for rejoicing in the LORD must be your strength!” - Nehemiah 8:2-10


This is how the Lord would have us live the Sabbath. He does not want our tears on this day, but our rejoicing. He wants us to eat what tastes good and drink what tastes good, and give to those who have nothing so that all may join in the celebration. Is this how I live my Sabbath day?

"The Spirit of the Lord is upon me" - Luke 1:1-21

And what would that Spirit have me do? He would have me bring good news to the poor, set captives free, recover the sight of the blind, hearing to the deaf, and mobility to the lame. Is this what I am doing?

"As a body is one though it has many parts, and all the parts of the body, though many, are one body, so also Christ. " - 1 Cor. 12:12-30

If I am neglecting to do as the Spirit would have me do, if I am failing to live the Sabbath day as the Lord would have me do, then some of the parts of Christ’s body are being neglected – and if I neglect some parts, I have neglected the whole. How can the body rejoice when the toe is in pain? How can the body rejoice when the heart is wounded? Lord, help me to better live out what you would have me live out. Teach me to move with the Spirit. Teach me to live the Sabbath in the way that you would have me live it. Grant me the courage I need to do as you command. Teach me to reach out to those around me who are in need.

If, on the Sabbath, I hear someone weeping, remind me that it is up to me to do what I can to help them rejoice that day. If, on the Sabbath, I see someone who has nothing to eat and nowhere to go, remind me that it is my job to help feed them and give them rest. Who can enjoy the Sabbath while they have no rest? This is what Jesus knew. This is why he healed on the Sabbath. So that those who were suffering, those who were sorrowing, could enter into the rest of the Sabbath and rejoice.  If I am to be Christ to others, I must do likewise.

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