Eating on the Sabbath


Eating on the Sabbath

Mt.  12:1-8 Common English Bible (CEB)

Working on the Sabbath

12 At that time Jesus went through the wheat fields on the Sabbath. His disciples were hungry so they were picking heads of wheat and eating them. When the Pharisees saw this, they said to him, “Look, your disciples are breaking the Sabbath law.”

But he said to them, “Haven’t you read what David did when he and those with him were hungry? He went into God’s house and broke the law by eating the bread of the presence, which only the priests were allowed to eat. Or haven’t you read in the Law that on the Sabbath the priests in the temple treat the Sabbath as any other day and are still innocent? But I tell you that something greater than the temple is here. If you had known what this means, I want mercy and not sacrifice,[a] you wouldn’t have condemned the innocent. The Human One[b] is Lord of the Sabbath.”


“Eating on the Sabbath”, such a sin, such a wrong. Jesus always ate on the Sabbath, he broke the conventional of rules of loving the the ungodly, and of walking and living with the “sinners”. He challenged the status quo of his day, as he challenges us to come out of our tribes and love one another with out bias. 

That is the Jesus we fell in love with in our teens through our  heroes of the Berrigan brothers, Dorthy Day, and Mother Teresa.

To us their way of life is what the Church is about–feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, visiting the sick, burying the dead, and challenging the powers of society. Living that way comes with a high cost–sometimes your very life.

In our last evaluation before we received our  M.Div. degree my advisor told me:

“River, you have a great gift, to allow young people to enter into your life, in such way they feel one with you, but that will come with a cost, and that cost will determine who you are.”

And it has come with misunderstanding , hated, being called names and it is determining who I am.  A woman wrote in the beginning of our ministry: ” You will be like a deer caught in the headlights of 20 trains coming at you.” And we have been and are.

Maybe wrongly, but we believe there is a mixture of right in the way we work, we work on the Sabbath, we hang  with youth, with homeless, with any one who is on the outside of society, by letting them enter our  life and become a part of it. We become friends.

These past months through injury, through illness, and pain we  have come face to face with the reality of the the way we work, and we know we can do no other. It has been a lonely time.

Our best friends are younger than we are, but they are there. Is that wrong? Depends on the perspective  you view this from:  the Sabbath perspective, or from the perspective of Jesus, the same with hanging out late at night in Golden Gate Park, or going to a teen party at China Camp or wearing “different clothes” than “adults” wear–from the Sabbath perspective or the  perspective of Jesus but I am coming down to the perspective of this poem:

“Love After Love”

The day will come

the time will come

when with elation

you will greet yourself

arriving at your own door

and each will smile at each other’s welcome

saying sit here, eat

you will love again the stranger who was yourself.

Give wine, give bread

give back your heart to yourself

to the stranger who has loved you all your life

who you ignored for another

who knows you by heart.

Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,

the photographs, the desperate notes

find your own image in the mirror, see it

Feast on your life.

Derek Walcott

Fr. River Damien Sims, D.Min.

Temenos Catholic Worker

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164


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