The promise and the oath

I picked this photo because my friend Bill loves it.
During Camino I ate that entire quiche over a 24-hour period.

Greetings on this the Memorial of Saint Anthony, Abbott
Readings: Heb 6:10-20; PS 111:1-2, 4-5, 9 and 10c; Mk 2:23-28
Notes: Two immutable things: the promise and the oath.

Jesus’ commentary for us today during his life in Galilee:

The third commandment is also a promise: Remember the sabbath day—keep it holy.
The Lord is ever merciful, full of compassion and has ordered all things for our good.
The Sabbath is Holy because the Lord is holy.

The keeping and making of Sabbath is the Lord’s domain, not ours.

  • Mercy on the Sabbath.
  • Compassion on the Sabbath.
  • Good on the Sabbath.

Ritual is second to Holiness.
It does not replace holiness it is its representative only.
And representation is second to actions of holiness.

Law gets its meaning from holiness NOT holiness from law.

The seven promises to Abraham:
1 – 2. I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you;
3 – 4. I will make your name great, so that you will be a blessing.
5 – 6. I will bless those who bless you and curse those who curse you.

  1. All the families of the earth will find blessing in you.

Isaac is the Son of Promise.

Oath of Genesis 22
and said: “I swear by my very self—oracle of the LORD—that because you acted as you did in not withholding from me your son, your only one (Gen 22:16).

Covenant of Genesis 17.
I will maintain my covenant between me and you and your descendants after you throughout the ages as an everlasting covenant, to be your God and the God of your descendants after you (Gen 17:7).


In an age that smiles at the notion of devils and angels, a person known for having power over evil spirits must at least make us pause. And in a day when people speak of life as a “rat race,” one who devotes a whole life to solitude and prayer points to an essential of the Christian life in all ages. Anthony’s hermit life reminds us of the absoluteness of our break with sin and the totality of our commitment to Christ. Even in God’s good world, there is another world whose false values constantly tempt us.


First reading
This we have as an anchor of the soul, sure and firm, which reaches into the interior behind the veil, where Jesus has entered on our behalf as forerunner, becoming high priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.

Responsorial Psalm
The Lord will remember his covenant for ever.

Alleluia Verse
May the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ enlighten the eyes of our hearts, that we may know what is the hope that belongs to our call.

Gospel Portion

Mark 2 – Accusation
23 As he was passing through a field of grain on the sabbath, his disciples began to make a path while picking the heads of grain.
24 At this the Pharisees said to him, “Look, why are they doing what is unlawful on the sabbath?”

Deuteronomy 23 – Fact of Law
25 When you go through your neighbor’s vineyard, you may eat as many grapes as you wish, until you are satisfied, but do not put them in your basket.
26 When you go through your neighbor’s grainfield, you may pluck some of the ears with your hand, but do not put a sickle to your neighbor’s grain.

Innocence – They did nothing wrong.

Going Further – Now, Jesus, leveraging the accusation to a higher degree of what is allowed or permitted.

From 1 Samuel 21 5, 7.

Now what do you have on hand? Give me five loaves, or whatever you can find.” But the priest replied to David, “I have no ordinary bread on hand, only holy bread; if the men have abstained from women, you may eat some of that.”

Comment: the test is one of worthiness to eat sacred bread by way of consecration (intention) not ordination (appointment). Need answered by mercy. The only prohibition is sacrilege (misuse of what is regarded as sacred), i.e., if you were to use the bread for bedding or some other inappropriate use. These men were famished to eat.

So the priest gave him holy bread, for no other bread was on hand except the showbread which had been removed from before the LORD and replaced by fresh bread when it was taken away.

Jesus gets us to the root, the beginning of the promise, again.

God’s gracious will.

God’s Sabbath love. His promise and his oath.

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

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