When I was young, most everything was closed on Sunday, including shops and liquor stores. Gradually, greedy corporations helped by shallow consumers used liberal secularism to destroy the traditions and laws that kept Sunday as a day of rest and reflection. They were often supported by Christians, who called for reform of the laws because their result was not more people going to church but “enforced idleness”.
Jesus seems on the surface to support this reform. On the sabbath, Jesus was crossing a field of corn. His disciples, being hungry, began to pick the ears and eat the kernels. When the Pharisees saw this, they confronted Jesus, saying his disciples were breaking the law of the sabbath. He told them:
Have you not read what David did, when he and his companions were hungry? He entered the temple, and ate the sacrificial bread, which was not lawful for him to eat, nor for them which were with him, but only for the priests. Have you not read in the law how that on the sabbath the temple priests profane the sabbath, and are blameless? If you knew the meaning of the saying “I would rather have mercy than sacrifice,” you would not have condemned the guiltless.
Does this mean that Jesus would have wanted goods to be sold in the markets, or wine in the taverns, on the sabbath? No. Jesus is merely saying that following the letter of the law that forbids working on the sabbath can prevent you from doing good that needs to be done, and that picking corn to eat does not make you guilty of working. The sabbath existed to let us detach from the strife and suffering of everyday life, give us time to contemplate the spiritual, and reconnect with family and the things that were truly important to us. As Jesus said:
You cannot serve both God and Money.