Friday of the 15th Week in Ordinary Time

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?

“The bread of offering could just as easily be a can of soup offering for the local food pantry, or the time offering each night with our children,” says Father Jerry in today’s homily, “Or maybe the sceding control offering when we put aside our anger or disappointment to forgive and reconcile to repair and restore.”

The bread of offering that Jesus refers to in today’s Gospel, was the custom at the temple of baking 12 loaves of bread each Sabbath, to put on display in the temple.

Each loaf representing one of the 12 tribes of Israel. The loaves were called showbread. After the Sabbath this holy bread was consumed by the priests. During his war against King Saul, David appropriated this showbread from the temple, to feed his starving comrades. For Jesus, the holiness of such bread was not its display in the temple, but the hunger it could alleviate for those in need.

Just as the Sabbath is truly observed in works of charity and compassion, Jesus cites the prophet Hosea to make his point clear: I desire mercy not sacrifice. Wisdom, rather than burnt offerings.

“So today may we offer to God something that can be the means of mercy and good to someone in need,” says Father, “In need of the bread that you and I can offer.”

Let us pray. O God of the Sabbath, instill in us your grace so that we might sacrifice what is important to us…. sacrifice our own interests and needs… Sacrifice our own vision of what is correct and proper… in order to bring peace and consolation to those in despair, those who struggle, those who grieve. Make whatever bread we are able to offer to our brothers and sisters a sign of your grace and compassion in our midst.