Pauca Verba is Latin for A Few Words.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Picking Grain and Un-knowing Jesus

Jesus happened to be passing through the wheat fields on the Sabbath, and his disciples bean to pick the heads of wheat as they made their way through. And the Pharisees said to him, "Look! Why are they doing what it is against the law to do on the Sabbath?" He said to them, "Did you never read what David did, when he was in need and hungry, he and his men? How is it that he went into the house of God when Abiathar was high priest, and ate the Presentation Loaves, which it is against the law for anyone but the priests to eat, and gave some to his companions too?" And he said to them, "The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath, and so the Son of Man is master even of the Sabbath."
Even in a little gospel reading we see that there are even bitter differences between Jesus and the leading Pharisees. They seem to follow Jesus; they watch him with scheming suspicion.  In this scene the wrangle is over the Sabbath rule of forbidden work.

The apostles are hungry and so they pick some ripe grain. They rub it between their hands and pop  it into their mouths. Ancient fast-food! The Pharisees, who have religious power, consider that action to be harvesting. When religion gets twisted up, there are people who become surveyors, assessing and judging the actions of others. These men aren't concerned that the wheat is stolen, but only that it has been harvested. You're not allowed to do that on the Sabbath rest day. 

But Jesus is careful and  smart and he answers their question with another question, which gives him an opportunity to teach them what they clearly don't know. But like many, they don't want to be taught. The Sabbath day is God's gift to us. The burdensome cycle of the frenzied money wheel is put aside and lifted, as once each week God invites us to rest. But the Sabbath is God's gift; not God himself. Human need takes precedent. Followers of religion sometimes forget this.

But then Jesus goes further and claims He is Lord of the Sabbath! Now he's really looking for trouble! He has God-authority to tell us what we may and may not do on the Sabbath. Jesus isn't just a good man, a holy man, a just man, a prophet. He invites me to know him in God's authority and Lordship. He's supreme even over the Sabbath. 

It's the time of seasonal change. It's the time of letting go as the trees of the northern hemisphere drop millions upon millions of leaves and the late summer garden surrenders its fruitfulness. To know Jesus in an evolved way, we might need to drop immature, naive or even superstitious notions of him. A kind of un-knowing. 

To know Jesus without packaged words or religious cliches. To know Jesus from an inner, felt place. To know Jesus for myself and not as something simply handed on to me by someone else. Look at the picture below: an image of the un-knowing. What then? 


  1. But should we only know Jesus in this way? He will bring us the the Father, but what then? Do we follow his example without following any of the laws of the Church? Then are we to be Christ followers but not Catholics? Or is to believe in Him enough?

  2. "He will bring us to the Father, but what then?" Is there anything else? Hopefully the laws of the Church reflect the mind of Christ, no? "Christ followers but not Catholics." True story told to me by a friend who was a boy in Brooklyn years ago: He and his friend were walking along 4th Ave in Bayridge. A Norwegian Evangelical lady came up to them and asked, "Have you claimed Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior?" The boys answered with pride, "Oh no, we're Catholics!" Funny story, but I'd ask the lady, what does it mean to call Jesus personal Lord and Savior? The un-knowing of Jesus is to speak of him without the packaged words. We don't get at this much at all. We settle in to a very superficial depth of related-ness with Christ. Or we think we're following him because we keep Roman Catholic precepts, or Russian Orthodox precepts, or Assembly of God precepts, or Southern Baptist precepts - much of which is muddied with a political agenda.

  3. Jesus should be your best friend. He will never leave your side. Think of Footprints in the Sand. How many friends stand by us through the worst of times? Jesus.

  4. But Father, what about the Mass, the rosary, the novenas, the stations of the cross? The church gives to me these beautiful unique rhythms of prayer which abound with graces and love to fortify the soul. Explain packaged words.

  5. As I said in the previous post - "Do everything you can to get Christ into your life, there is everything to take him away." But Archbishop Kallistos Ware writes: "Don't begin to pray until you feel something." Too much "praying" is done from detached, unfeeling places. Avoid that routine that dulls us. If you pray the rosary - by all means avoid the "rattling" which is what Jesus forbids!