First Reading: From First Samuel 17:32-33, 37, 40-51
32 David said to Saul, ‘Let no one be discouraged on his account; your servant will go and fight this Philistine.’
33 Saul said to David, ‘You cannot go and fight the Philistine; you are only a boy and he has been a warrior since his youth.’
37 ‘Yahweh,’ David went on, ‘who delivered me from the claws of lion and bear, will deliver me from the clutches of this Philistine.’ Then Saul said to David, ‘Go, and Yahwehbe with you!’
40 He took his stick in his hand, selected five smooth stones from the river bed and put them in his shepherd’s bag, in his pouch; then, sling in hand, he walked towards the Philistine.
41 The Philistine, preceded by his shield-bearer, came nearer and nearer to David.
42 When the Philistine looked David up and down, what he saw filled him with scorn, because David was only a lad, with ruddy cheeks and an attractive appearance.
43 The Philistine said to David, ‘Am I a dog for you to come after me with sticks?’ And the Philistine cursed David by his gods.
44 The Philistine said to David, ‘Come over here and I willgive your flesh to the birds of the air and the wild beasts!’
45 David retorted to the Philistine, ‘You come to me with sword, spear and scimitar, but I come to you in the name of Yahweh Sabaoth, God of the armies of Israel, whom you have challenged.
46 Today, Yahweh will deliver you into my hand; I shall kill you, I shall cut off your head; today, I shall give your corpse and the corpses of the Philistine army to the birds of the air and the wild beasts, so that the whole world may know that there is a God in Israel,
47 and this whole assembly know that Yahweh does not give victory by means of sword and spear — for Yahweh is lord of the battle and he will deliver you into our power.’
48 No sooner had the Philistine started forward to confront David than David darted out of the lines and ran to meet the Philistine.
49 Putting his hand in his bag, he took out a stone, slung it and struck the Philistine on the forehead; the stone penetrated his forehead and he fell face downwards on the ground.
50 Thus David triumphed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone; he hit the Philistine and killed him, though he had no sword in his hand.
51 David ran and stood over the Philistine, seized his sword, pulled it from the scabbard, despatched him and cut off his head. When the Philistines saw that their champion was dead, they fled.
Responsorial Psalm, Psalms 144:1, 2, 9-10
1 [Of David] Blessed be Yahweh, my rock, who trains my hands for war and my fingers for battle,
2 my faithful love, my bastion, my citadel, my Saviour; I shelter behind him, my shield, he makes the peoples submit to me.
9 God, I sing to you a new song, I play to you on the ten-stringed lyre,
10 for you give kings their victories, you rescue your servant David. From the sword of evil
Gospel Reading: From the Gospel Account of St. Mark 3:1-6
1 Another time he went into the synagogue, and there was a man present whose hand was withered.
2 And they were watching him to see if he would cure him on the Sabbath day, hoping for something to charge him with.
3 He said to the man with the withered hand, ‘Get up and stand in the middle!’
4 Then he said to them, ‘Is it permitted on the Sabbath day to do good, or to do evil; to save life, or to kill?’ But they said nothing.
5 Then he looked angrily round at them, grieved to find them so obstinate, and said to the man, ‘Stretch out your hand.’ He stretched it out and his hand was restored.
6 The Pharisees went out and began at once to plot with the Herodians against him, discussing how to destroy him.
Theme: Is it lawful… to save life or to kill?
What is God’s intention for the commandment, keep holy the Sabbath (Exodus 20:8; Deuteronomy 5:12)? The scribes and Pharisees wanted to catch Jesus in the act of breaking the Sabbath ritual so they might accuse him of breaking God’s law. In a few penetrating words Mark the Evangelist tells us that Jesus looked at them with anger, and grieved at their hardness of hearts (Mark 3:5).
God’s purpose and intention for the Sabbath commandment
The legal scholars and religious-minded Jews were filled with fury and contempt for Jesus because they put their own thoughts of right and wrong above God. They were ensnared in their own legalism because they did not understand or see the purpose of God for the Sabbath commandment (remember the Sabbath day – to keep it holy – Exodus 20:8).. Jesus shows their fallacy by pointing to God’s intention for the Sabbath: to do good and to save life rather than to do evil or to destroy life (Mark 3:3).
Commemorating Christ’s resurrection and work of redemption on the Lord’s Day
Since the time of the first Apostles, Christians have traditionally celebrated Sunday as the Lord’s Day (Revelation 1:10; Acts 20:7; Luke 24:30; 1 Corinthians 16:1-2) to worship together around the table of the Lord (the Eucharist or Lord’s Supper) and to commemorate God’s work of redemption in Jesus Christ and the new work of creation accomplished through Christ’s death and resurrection.
Taking “our sabbath rest” is a way of expressing honor to God for all that he has done for us in and through Jesus Christ our Lord and Redeemer. Such “rest” however does not exempt us from our love for our neighbor. If we truly love the Lord above all else, then the love of God will overflow to love of neighbor as well. Do you honor the Lord in the way you celebrate Sunday, the Lord’s Day and in the way you treat you neighbor?
“Lord Jesus, in your victory over sin and death on the cross and in your resurrection you give us the assurance of sharing in the eternal rest of heaven. Transform my heart with your love that I may freely serve my neighbor for his good and find joy and refreshment in the celebration of Sunday as the Lord’s Day.”