The story goes of a large castle which lay abandoned for a large number of years.
>> Being considered haunted or jinxed, it failed to have buyers.
But a young man, without giving heed to any of those fears, purchased it.
The castle had a large attic, with a huge number of things being dumped in it.
>> The man decided to take up the task of cleaning this attic.
While cleaning, the man found, in the corner of the attic, a very old vase, fully covered with dust!
>> Taking it in his hands, as he began to wipe it with a cloth, the man discovered that it was a priceless item that he was holding on!
It was a Diamond Vase!
Unnoticed, uncared and undiscovered…
… the Diamond Vase, on being dusted, became a priceless “bonus” for that man.
How often in our lives, we too have many such “Diamond Vases” – unnoticed, uncared and undiscovered.
>> It’s highly essential that time and again, we dust off the “unnoticed, uncared and undiscovered” entities in life, to discover their preciousness!
One of such “Diamond Vases” are the precious and timeless truths that can be discovered from the Holy Bible.
Today we shall attempt to “wipe off” the dust from a precious teaching – the Sabbath – to reveal its greater implications in our life and to discover its preciousness!
The Gospel of the day is another Sabbath controversy.
While going through the grain-fields, the disciples of Jesus plucked and ate some of the heads of grain (Lk 6: 1)
>> But this supposedly forbidden “act of work” was “caught” by the Law Policemen – the Pharisees.
Probably, the disciples had not thought of the fact that they were now enjoying the status of being “special celebrities” – since they were the close associates of the Rising mega-star – Jesus!
>> And mega-stars and special celebrities always get followed, isn’t it?
Each of their movement is followed… Each of their talk is taped!
Thus, Jesus and His disciples also found themselves being followed and observed, in all their actions and talks!
The point of contention was the Sabbath Rule – which as per the Pharisees…
… rendered the “work of the disciples” – plucking and eating the heads of grain – as being unlawful and therefore, culpable!
When we seek to trace the the original purpose of “Sabbath”, we could consider a couple of aspects:
1. The “Law” of Sabbath at Creation
If Sabbath can be considered as a “Law”, then it goes to say without doubt that the Law of Sabbath was a “principle of creation” itself.
Gen 2: 3: “So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it, He rested from all the work he had done in creation”
>> This “Law” of Sabbath therefore, even precedes the Mosaic Law!
It is very interesting to note the pattern of creation that is mentioned in the Book of Genesis.
The Creation is mentioned as happening on a 7-day format.
>> It can be observed that on all the 6 days, it is mentioned, “evening came and morning followed” (Gen 1:5b, 1: 8b, 1:13, 1: 19, 1: 23, 1: 21b)
>> The phrase or the usage, “Evening came and morning followed” refers to the completing of a day.
But the 7th day doesn’t have this mention!
What is this pointing towards…?
The 7th day is not complete… it is being continued.
>> It is unending… i.e. Everlasting!
Therefore, the 7th Day… the Day on which God “rested” is being continued…. into eternity!
>> So when God calls to “rest” on a Sabbath day, it could be a reference and a reminder to enter “a rest into eternity!”
That’s wonderful, isn’t it?
>> The Sabbath becomes a reminder that we are created to “enter into a rest with God” which is eternal and unending!
>> The Sabbath becomes a prefiguration of eternal life – the purpose of all our works and activities!
Can we cultivate this understanding so as to have a stricter observance of the Sabbath Rule?
Every time we faithfully keep the Sabbath Law….
… we express our willingness to God saying: ” Yes Lord, I am readying myself for the Eternal Rest that you are promising me”!
… we display our eagerness to God saying: “Yes Lord, I am constantly preparing myself to enjoy an Eternal bliss with You!”
2. The Law of Sabbath in the Mosaic Law
The Book of Deuteronomy explicates this Sabbath Law:
“Observe the Sabbath day, to keep it holy, as the Lord your God commanded you. Six days you shall labour and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God….
…You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the Lord your God brought you out from there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm.
Therefore the Lord your God commanded you to keep the Sabbath day.” (Dt 5: 12-15)
The Sabbath Law in the Mosaic Law was a reminder that God was their Rescuer from the land of slavery and therefore, He was their God and they, His people.
Can we also cultivate this understanding so as to have a stricter observance of the Sabbath Rule?
Every time we faithfully keep the Sabbath Law….
… we are reminded that we were also once, slaves – to sin.
>> But our Blessed Lord, has rescued us from slavery and wishes that we deepen our love, commitment and faithfulness to Him, Our Saviour!
… we are exhorted that it is very much possible that we can become slaves again – maybe to sinful tendencies, to money, to power, to position, to various vices etc.
>> But with constant examination of oneself and a renewing of one’s dedication and pledge to God, we can remain as His own people.
Knowingly or unknowingly, we have sometimes failed to keep the Sabbath Law or perhaps, failed to attach any special importance to it…
The Sabbath Day, sometimes, becomes…
… just another “ordinary” day for us
… a day to indulge in laziness and lethargy
… a day to complete pending works and even ending up doing extra works!
But can we grow beyond such practices and seek to restore the original intents of the Sabbath.
>> A faithful and dutiful keeping of the Sabbath Law is a vital expression of we, as Christians, being a distinct people – chosen to lead all others towards the Love of God!
May we seek the Grace to uncover many more “Diamond Vases” contained in the Holy Scripture, by wiping off the dusts of ignorance and indifference!
God Bless! Live Jesus!
Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “In spite of the all-powerful strength of God’s merciful hand, which touches, enfolds and bends the souls with so many inspirations, calls and attractions…
… the human will remains perfectly free, unfettered, and exempt from every form of constraint and necessity.
>> Grace has a holy violence, not to violate our liberty but to make it full of love…
… it presses us, but does not oppress our freedom!”