Tuesday of the Second week in Ordinary Time
Son of Man is lord even of the sabbath
Saint John Chrysostom (c.345-407), priest at Antioch then Bishop of Constantinople, Doctor of the Church
Homilies on Saint Matthew's gospel, no.39
"That is why the Son of Man is lord even of the sabbath"
From the first, the law of the Sabbath conferred many and great benefits; for instance, it made the Jews gentle towards those of their household, and humane; it taught them God the Creator's providence and wisdom... When God was giving the law for the Sabbath he had said... that he would have them refrain from evil works only, by saying: “You must do no work, except for what is necessary for life” (Ex 12,16 LXX). And in the temple, too, all went on, and with more diligence than ever. Thus even by the very shadow he was secretly opening the light of full truth (cf. Col 2,17).
Did Christ then do away with so highly profitable a thing? Far from it; he greatly enhanced it. For it was unnecessary... that we should hereby learn that God made all things, or should so be made gentle who are called to imitate God's own love. For he says: “Be merciful, as your heavenly Father is merciful”(Lk 6,36). It was no longer necessary to fix a day of festival for those who are commanded to keep a feast all their life long. For: “Let us keep the feast,” Saint Paul writes, “not with old leaven, neither with leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth” (1Cor 5,8)... So now, why is any sabbath required for christians who are always keeping the feast and whose conversation is in heaven? Yes, my brethren, let us celebrate that continual, heavenly sabbath
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