Jesus was going through a field of grain on the sabbath.
His disciples were hungry
and began to pick the heads of grain and eat them.
When the Pharisees saw this, they said to him,
See, your disciples are doing what is unlawful to do on the sabbath.
He said to the them,
Have you not read what David did
when he and his companions were hungry,
how he went into the house of God and ate the bread of offering,
which neither he nor his companions
but only the priests could lawfully eat?
Or have you not read in the law that on the sabbath
the priests serving in the temple violate the sabbath
and are innocent?
I say to you, something greater than the temple is here.
If you knew what this meant, I desire mercy, not sacrifice,
you would not have condemned these innocent men.
For the Son of Man is Lord of the sabbath.
— Matthew 12:1-8
The peace of the Lord be with you. Jesus is a great teacher. Today Jesus teaches us, as well as the Pharisees, about priorities and the importance of mercy as a higher good.
The disciples of Jesus, because of their hunger, were harvesting grain which was an activity that was forbidden on the Sabbath. He reminds them that there was a precedent set by King David when his men were hungry. He reminds them of a quote from Hosea about mercy versus sacrifice. He reminds them that acts of mercy and goodness performed on the Sabbath were not only allowed, but expected. He asserts to them that he is the son of God which makes him more important than the temple, which is where God resided.
Today in Matthew, we see the mercy of God actively at work in the person of Jesus. As such, mercy is at the heart of the Christian message and one of the chief ingredients of a Christian lifestyle. God is forever pouring out his mercy upon us, and we are to share that mercy freely with those that we share this life with. In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.