For 3 February 2008, 4th Sunday, based on Matthew 12:1-12a
At that time Jesus went through the grainfields on the sabbath; his disciples were hungry, and they began to pluck heads of grain and to eat. When the Pharisees saw it, they said to him, â€œLook, your disciples are doing what is not lawful to do on the sabbath.â€ He said to them, â€œHave you not read what David did when he and his companions were hungry? He entered the house of God and ate the bread of the Presence, which it was not lawful for him or his companions to eat, but only for the priests. Or have you not read in the law that on the sabbath the priests in the temple break the sabbath and yet are guiltless? I tell you, something greater than the temple is here. But if you had known what this means, â€˜I desire mercy and not sacrifice,â€™ you would not have condemned the guiltless. For the Son of Man is lord of the sabbath.â€ He left that place and entered their synagogue; a man was there with a withered hand, and they asked him, â€œIs it lawful to cure on the sabbath?â€ so that they might accuse him. He said to them, â€œSuppose one of you has only one sheep and it falls into a pit on the sabbath; will you not lay hold of it and lift it out? How much more valuable is a human being than a sheep! So it is lawful to do good on the sabbath.â€
Scripture passage from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Catholic Edition, copyright 1989, 1993, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.