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The Lord gives Moses gives further instructions on how to deal with those who break His commandments, even though they may do so unwittingly. The commandments were provided not to curtail the freedom of the people of God but as a code for survival.

One example concerns the Sabbath rest. Man cannot work continually without rest so God created the Sabbath which was and is to allow a complete day of rest and a day given over to the Lord. It is an opportunity to re-charge spiritually as well as physically.

God also provides a system of sacrifices, knowing that we are weak and that we will fall into sin. The purpose of these sacrifices is to encourage people to recognise their sin and to seek forgiveness.

This was the message of Jesus and he deliberately spent time praying and socialising with sinners in order to show that if they turn back to God in repentance and follow him, they will be saved from their sin. This is crucial if you understand that the wages of sin are death. Repentance is a route to eternal life.

When criticised by the Pharisees, Jesus reminds them that it is the sick that need a doctor, not the healthy. He also criticises the Pharisees who keep every minute detail of the law but do so without love in their hearts. Jesus heals on the Sabbath which is classed as work and is against the law but He reminds them that the Sabbath was made to meet the needs of the people and not for the people to meet the needs of the Sabbath.

So the Sabbath is for rest, remembering God – which is why we go to Mass, but we still need to prepare meals – and someone has to prepare that!

Scripture: Leviticus4:1-5:19; Mark 2:13-3:6; Psalm 36:1-12; Proverbs 10:1-2