Jesus is accused of breaking the Sabbath - Catholic Courier
The Pharisees accuse Jesus of breaking the Sabbath. (Illustration by Linda Jeanne Rivers) The Pharisees accuse Jesus of breaking the Sabbath. (Illustration by Linda Jeanne Rivers)

Jesus is accused of breaking the Sabbath

In this issue:

Children’s story: The Pharisees accuse Jesus of breaking the Sabbath
Bible Accent: The Sabbath
Saint for Today: St. Bega

The Pharisees were always picking on Jesus.

They watched Jesus’ every move and listened closely to what he said to the people. They hoped to catch him doing or saying something that was against the law of God.

One day, Jesus and his apostles were walking through a field of grain. It was the Sabbath. According to God’s commandments, the Sabbath was to be kept as a holy day of rest, just as God rested after he created the heavens and the earth. No person or animal was to do work on that day.

As Jesus and his friends walked through the field, the apostles picked the heads off the grain and ate them because they were hungry.

Aha! the Pharisees thought excitedly — Jesus’ friends were doing work by picking the grain. They were breaking God’s law.

The Pharisees rushed up to Jesus.

“Why are you doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath?” they demanded to know.

Jesus looked at them calmly.

“Have you not read what David did when he and those who were with him were hungry?” he asked.

Jesus reminded them that David went into the house of God and ate the holy bread that only the priests were allowed to eat.

“The Son of Man is lord of the Sabbath,” Jesus told the Pharisees.

On another Sabbath, Jesus went into the synagogue to teach. There he saw a man who had a withered hand.

The Pharisees and the scribes watched Jesus closely. They whispered to each other, wondering if Jesus would cure the man’s hand. If Jesus cured on the Sabbath, they would accuse him of breaking God’s law.

Jesus saw the Pharisees and scribes drawing near to him. He knew what they were up to.

Jesus asked the man to stand before the people.

“I ask you, is it lawful to do good on the Sabbath rather than to do evil, to save life rather than to destroy it?” Jesus asked.

He looked at those gathered around him. He told the man to stretch out his hand, and he cured it.

The Pharisees became extremely angry, and they began talking about what they could do to Jesus.


Luke 6


1. What is the Sabbath?

2. What did the apostles do that the Pharisees viewed as breaking the Sabbath law?

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Bible Accent

God’s Ten Commandments are listed in Exodus 20. One of them is, “Remember the Sabbath day — keep it holy” (Ex 20:8).

God made the heavens and the earth in six days, and on the seventh day he rested. He made the seventh day — Saturday — holy, and he told the Israelites they must rest on this day.

“You shall not do any work, either you, your son or your daughter, your male or female slave, your work animal, or the resident alien within your gates,” the Lord said (Ex 20:10).

According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church — which helps us understand the Bible — Christians see Sunday as the fulfillment of the Sabbath. Sunday was the day of Jesus’ resurrection and is known as “the Lord’s Day.”

“For Christians, its ceremonial observance replaces that of the Sabbath,” the catechism says in No. 2175. And it goes on to say that “in Christ’s Passover, Sunday fulfills the spiritual truth of the Jewish Sabbath and announces man’s eternal rest in God.”

Sunday worship, the catechism continues in No. 2176, fulfills the command of the Old Covenant that God made with the Israelites.

And the Sunday celebration of the Lord’s Day and his Eucharist, according to the catechism, “is at the heart of the church’s life” (No. 2177).

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Saint for Today: St. Bega

St. Bega (sixth and seventh centuries) is said to have been the daughter of an Irish king. She was to be married to a son of the king of Norway, even though she had vowed to remain a virgin to Christ. It is said that she received a special bracelet from heaven as a sign of her vow.

The day before she was to be married, she escaped to Cumberland, England.

She became a nun and founded a monastery at St. Bees, England. She was devoted to the poor and the oppressed.

We honor her on Sept. 6.

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