Matthew 12:8

For the Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day.
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Augustine of Hippo

AD 430
De Cons. Ev., ii, 34: This which here follows is related both by Mark and Luke, without any question of discrepancy; indeed they do not say, “At that time,” so that Matthew has here perhaps preserved the order of time, they that of their recollection; unless we take the words in a wider sense, “At that time,” that is, the time in which these many and divers things were done, whence we may conceive that all these things happened after the death of John. For he isbelieved to have been beheaded a little after he sent his disciples to Christ. So that when he says “at that time,” he may mean only an indefinite time. Quaest in Matt., q. 10: It should be observed, that one example is taken from royal persons, as David, the other from priestly, as those who profane the Sabbath for the service of the Temple, so that much less can the charge concerning the rubbing the ears of corn attach to Him who is indeed King and Priest. cont. Faust., xvi, 28: He did not forbid His disciples to pluck the ear...

George Leo Haydock

AD 1849
Lord . of the sabbath. He proves that he can dispense with the observation of the feast, because he is master of the feast. In St. Mark (ii. 27.) it is written, the sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath; i.e. man's salvation is to be preferred to the observation of the sabbath. (Menochius) In the concurrence of two incompatible precepts, we must give the preference to that which is the end and object of the other; thus we must prefer the preservation of life to the observance of the sabbath. (Haydock) These loaves were twelve, corresponding to the twelve tribes of Israel. They were set six and six, one upon another, at each end of the table. Upon the uppermost loaf of each heap stood a vessel, smoking with the sweetest incense. These loaves at the week's end were, according to God's order, eaten by the priests only, when they were replaced by twelve fresh ones, made like them, with the finest flour, tempered with oil. This offering of the shew-bread before the Lord, w...

Hilary of Poitiers

AD 368
The Pharisees, who thought that the key of the kingdom of heaven was in their hands, accused the disciples of doing what was not lawful to do; whereon the Lord reminded them of deeds in which, under the guise of facts, a prophecy was concealed; and that He might show the power of all things, He further added, that it contained the form of that work which was to be, “Had ye known what that meaneth, I will have mercy;” for the work of our salvation is not in the sacrifice of the Law, but in mercy; and the Law having ceased, we are saved bythe mercy of God. Which gift if they had understood they would not have condemned the innocent, that is His Apostles, whom in their jealousy they were to accuse of having transgressed the Law, where the old sacrifices having ceased, the new dispensation of mercy came through them to the aid of all. ...


AD 420
As we read in another Evangelist, they had no opportunity of taking food because of the thronging of the multitude, and therefore they hungred as men. That they rub the ears of corn in their hands, and with them satisfy themselves, is a proof of an austere life, and of men who needed not prepared meats, but sought only simple food. Observe, that the first Apostles of the Saviour broke the letter of the Sabbath, contrary to the opinion of the Ebionites asked for food; he having no common bread, gave him the consecrated loaves, which it was not lawful for any to eat, but the Priests only and Levites; esteeming it a better action to deliver men from the danger of famine than to offer sacrifice to God; for the preservation of man is a sacrifice acceptable to God. Thus then the Lord meets their objection, saying, If David be a holy man, and if you blame not the high-priestAchimelech, but consider their excuse for their transgression of the Law to bevalid, and that was hunger; how do ye not ...

John Chrysostom

AD 407
Hom., xxxix: Why then did He lead them through the corn fields on the Sabbath, seeing He knew all things, unless He desired to break the sabbath? This he desired indeed, but not absolutely; therefore He broke it not without cause, but furnished a sufficient reason; so that He both caused the Law to cease, and yet offended not against it.Thus in order to soften the Jews, He here introduces a natural necessity; this is what is said, “And his disciples beingan hungred, began to pluck the ears of corn, and to eat.” Although in things which are manifestly sinful, there can be no excuse; he who kills another cannot plead rage, nor he who commits adultery, lust, or any other cause; yet here saying that the disciples were hungry, He delivers them from all accusation. Here admire the disciples, who are so limited in their desires, that they haveno care of the things of the body, but despise the support of the flesh; they are assailed by hunger, and yet they go not away from Christ; for had not ...

John Chrysostom

AD 407
But Mark relates Him to have said this of our common nature also; for He said, The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. Mark 2:27 Wherefore then was he punished that was gathering the sticks? Numbers 15:32-36 Because if the laws were to be despised even at the beginning, of course they would scarcely be observed afterwards. For indeed the Sabbath did at the first confer many and great benefits; for instance, it made them gentle towards those of their household, and humane; it taught them God's providence and the creation, as Ezekiel says; Ezekiel 20:12 it trained them by degrees to abstain from wickedness, and disposed them to regard the things of the Spirit. For because they could not have borne it, if when He was giving the law for the Sabbath, He had said, Do your good works on the Sabbath, but do not the works which are evil, therefore He restrained them from all alike for, You must do nothing at all, says He: and not even so were they kept in order. But He H...

John Chrysostom

AD 407
Doubtless he speaks of himself when he mentions the “Lord of the sabbath.” Mark relates a complementary saying about our common human nature, that “the sabbath was made for humans, not humans for the sabbath. Why then should someone who gathered sticks on the sabbath be censured? The law that was established earlier could not be scorned without jeopardizing the law to be given later. The sabbath did confer many benefits, great blessings in the earlier dispensation. It made people more gentle toward those close to them. It guided them toward being more sympathetic. It located them temporally within God’s creation and providence, as Ezekiel knew. The sabbath trained Israel by degrees to abstain from evil and disposed them to listen to the things of the Spirit. They would have stretched the law out of shape if, when he was giving the law of the sabbath, Jesus had said, “You can work on the sabbath, but just do good works, do nothing evil.” This would have brought out the worst in them. So...

Rabanus Maurus

AD 856
They pluck the ears of corn when they withdraw men from devotion to the world; they rub them in their hands when they tear away their hearts from the lusts of the flesh; they eat the grain when they transfer such as are amended into the body of the Church. This they do on the sabbath, that is in the hope of eternal rest, to which they invite others. Also they walk through the corn fields with the Lord, who have delight in meditating on the Scriptures; they are hungry while they desire to find the bread of life, that is the love of God, in them; they pluck the ears of corn and rub them in their hands, while they examine the testimonies to discover what lies hid under the letter, and this on the sabbath, that is, while they are free from disquieting thoughts. ...

Remigius of Rheims

AD 533
He calls Himself the Son of Man, and the meaning is, He whom ye suppose a mereman is God, the Lord of all creatures, and also of the sabbath, and He has therefore power to change the law after His pleasure, because He made it.
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Theodore the Stratelates

AD 319
You will also thus observe that knowing God is more necessary than resting on the sabbath. The sabbath was given to the Jews when, in Egypt, they were turned toward idolatry. And the sabbath was given for this reason: so that they would not call the world uncreated and outside the sphere of providence, but that they would acknowledge that God is both the One who planned it and that it is he himself who made the world in six days and on the seventh day rested. When God commanded them to do no work on the sabbath, it was to remind them of this. Subsequently, the fact that God is the Maker of the universe has become known to all, and so much of the detailed sabbath law has become superficial. If these extreme arguments about the sabbath were truly useful, they would have been applied not only to human beings but even to the sun and moon. Imagine that the very sun would cease working its benefits to us on the sabbath day. No. This commandment has been given to human beings, even from the f...

Theophylact of Ochrid

AD 1107
He also shows them up as unlearned, not knowing the words of the prophets (Hosea 6:7). For was it not right, He says, to show mercy to men who were hungry? Furthermore, I, the Son of Man, am Lord of the sabbath for I am the Creator of all things, including the days. Hence it is I as Master Who sets aside the sabbath. Understand this also in a spiritual sense. As the apostles were laborers, and the believers were the harvest and the heads of grain, so the apostles were plucking and eating them, that is, they took the salvation of men to be their food. This they were doing on the sabbath, made for rest and cessation from evils. The Pharisees were vexed; and so it is even in the Church, that those who are pharisaical and envious are displeased with teachers who constantly teach and bring benefit. ...

Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. - 2 Peter 1:20

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