Proper 4 – Year B

1 Samuel 3:1-10(11-20), Psalm 139:1-5, 12-17 (or Deuteronomy 5:12-15, Psalm 81:1-10); 2 Corinthians 4:5-12, Mark 2:23-3:6

Anybody can observe the Sabbath, but making it holy surely takes the rest of the week.” Alice Walker

In today’s Gospel Jesus is accused of breaking the Sabbath rules. His justification is: “The sabbath was made for humankind, and not humankind for the sabbath.” (Mark 2:27) In other words, the needs of people take precedence over rules and regulations. Jesus says he is lord of the sabbath. So only Jesus is allowed to break the rules? Hardly, as followers of Jesus we need to realize that we too must give preference to the suffering, pain, misery and needs of people. Lawmakers, Christian or not, should take this into consideration when legislating. What do we think of sanctuary cities, which are in legal limbo? What do we think about breaking up families of illegal immigrants? Have we domesticated Jesus? Have we make him look like someone from our culture or subculture? Does Jesus look law biding white from the suburbs? Does Jesus look like a blond blue eyed patriot? Has Jesus become too much to handle so we make him look like us? To keep our sabbath, whether we call it Friday, Saturday or Sunday, perhaps we need to expand our patriotism so that we are patriots of the Kingdom of God, where every day is a day of rest, sabbath, for all the needy of the world. To have problems with this approach and say “but that’s how I was raised” is no excuse.


In the original Greek the word “Sabbath” means both the holy day (Saturday) and also means “week.” Literally Mark 2:23 and 3;2 and 3:4 reads “Sabbaths” (plural). It’s like saying when we get to the Sabbath (Saturday) “that’s a week,” that’s all the days. The Sabbath sanctifies all days, and therefore comprises all days in itself. That’s the reason for the plural. It also transcends time. When we are on any given Sabbath, we are on all Sabbaths, on all days, eternity. Therefore, the New Testament sometimes has “Sabbath” in the plural.


Once and forever

God takes us beyond culture

to rest for us all.