Memorial of St. Agnes, virgin and martyr
(I Samuel 16:1-13; Mark 2:23-28)
St. Agnes was such a beautiful girl that many young men wanted to marry her, but she was determined to consecrate her virginity to God. In the midst of the Diocletian persecution at the beginning of the fourth century she was denounced to the authorities and beheaded. There can be little doubt that she considered herself wedded to Christ – the only one worthy of such sacrifice.
In the struggle against hardness of heart Jesus demonstrates his worthiness as today’s gospel shows. The Pharisees want to criticize Jesus’ disciples for picking grain to eat on the Sabbath. Evidently the latter were hungry with no ready food available. If they were to celebrate the Sabbath at all, they had to find something to eat. Jesus amply defends them by saying that the Sabbath was made for people to enjoy.
Today people go to the opposite extreme. They often turn the Sabbath into a day of total recreation. Although rest and renewal are certainly integral to the celebration, we must not forget that it is the Lord’s Day. Like St. Agnes we remember him foremost by attending mass if at all possible. Then we can recreate with family and friends.