January 19.  Bernard noticed different beliefs about the sabbath. Are they divisive or can we tolerate and accept others? Should the sabbath be on Saturday or Sunday? There are also differences in dietary laws and what is prohibited as well as roles of men and women. Even festivals around first fruits and harvest, were and for some are still held.     Should there be laws and conditions around issues or is “a culture of encounter” as advocated by Pope Francis more about acceptance of differences and behaviour towards one another than ritual actions to be performed.  

One sabbath day Jesus was going through the grainfields and as they made their way his disciples began to pluck heads of grain.   The Pharisees asked, “Why are they doing what is not lawful on the sabbath?”  Jesus said, “the sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath, so the Son of man is lord even of the sabbath.” Mark 2:23-28.  Pope Francis:  Genuine social encounter calls for a dialogue that engages the culture shared by the majority of the population, and not leave them behind. A realistic and inclusive social covenant must be a cultural covenant, one that respects and acknowledges the different worldviews, cultures and lifestyles that coexist in society. FT219. Reflect and share.