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  • Elpidio Pezzella

Get Some Rest

''Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God...''

(Exodus 20:8-10 NKJV)

There are seven! Yes, shure. What you are reading is the devotional that ushers in the seventh year of weekly meditations, accompanied by a daily Bible reading plan. With it, allow me to offer you a fraternal hug and to raise a sincere prayer for you and your loved ones for a peaceful 2022 with divine help and protection. On reflection, each of these messages arrives every seven days, on what should be a "sanctified" day. And this is how in thinking about seven I could not help but immerse myself in creation and in the Sabbath decreed by God. Even if what was Saturday then became Sunday for us Christians (introduced by the emperor Constantine in 321 AD). In doing the creative work God told the world that he existed, and he saw that what was created was good and very good when man and woman were created. On the seventh day, when he decreed rest, he said "it is holy". In Egypt the Jews were robbed of their rest: they had to work tirelessly, trapped in a system that exploited them. God did not stand by and freed his people from slavery, leading them into the desert, where he was able to celebrate the Sabbath again. In the text of Exodus God asks the people of that time (and us Christians of today) to adhere to the day of rest, a day that eliminates all inequality because it is for everyone. The system of a weekly day of rest for all had no equivalent in any ancient civilization. The Greeks thought Jews were idle. God has given us a day of rest to break the cycle of work and the consumerist lifestyle in which we are enveloped in our favor. The day of rest is not linked to a specific day of the week, but should differ from the other days, allowing us to do in it what we cannot do during the week. In fact, one of the answers that bothers me most is "I didn't have time". When you are unable (because in reality you do not want to) to take a certain action, non-existent responsibilities are discharged over time, which is not large enough to satisfy all your needs. I am sure that compared to previous generations we have much more time available, enjoying tools and means that facilitate us a lot. We are living in an era where everything is just a click away. Apps and services abound that allow you to do everything from the comfort of your home. Just a connected credit card and you don't have to worry about anything: from food to furnishings, from books to cars. It is striking that despite having more "free" time, we are constantly chasing from one place to another, from one activity to another, seriously damaging our serenity. We are frantically overwhelmed, to the point of having a hard time praying and reading for only ten minutes (for this devotional it only takes 4). We should not let our worries (and every day has its own!) Condition us to the point of determining our being or the quality of our life, to the point of depriving us of the spiritual relationship with the Creator. If God has given us the "Sabbath" it is to preserve our freedom in the midst of a relentless society of demands and pressures. And sometimes, without realizing it, the ecclesial community becomes capable of the same. The apostles rebelled against this with the institution of deacons (Acts 6). Who knows if any of them remembered the words of Jesus before the multiplication of the loaves? "“Come aside by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while”. For there were many coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat” (Mark 6:31). Rest is not lazing around, gloating over without doing anything. On the same day that Jesus invited the disciples to rest, he engaged them in the distribution of bread and fish to a crowd of more than five thousand men. The day of rest is to look at God and marvel at his compassion and holiness (Exodus 31:13). When we get out of the frenzy of daily life, from the stress of ecclesial goals to be achieved at all costs, and instead celebrate his compassion, placing ourselves only and exclusively at his feet like Mary, everything changes for the better. I remember a story of the desert fathers: “Rabbi Levi was on the side of the road when one day he saw a man running fast. Rabbi Levi turned to him: "Why are you running?". "I run to reach my good fortune, I run to reach God's blessing, I run to reach what God has placed in front of me". In his wisdom, Rabbi urges him: “But why are you running?”». As long as you run, God will not be able to give you what he has arranged and prepared for your life. He himself will not be able to reach you. Stop and allow Him to reach your life!


 

Weekly Bible

Reading Plan #2 January 03, Genesis 7-9; Matthew 3 January 04, Genesis 10-12; Matthew 4 January 05, Genesis 13-15; Matthew 5:1-26 January 06, Genesis 16-17; Matthew 5:27-48 January 07, Genesis 18-19; Matthew 6:1-18 January 08, Genesis 20-22; Matthew 6:19-34 January 09, Genesis 23-24; Matthew 7



Photo by e_anka, www.freeimages.com

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