Tuesday of the Fifth Week in Ordinary Time
Book of Genesis 1:20-2:4a, Psalm 8:4-5, 6-7, 8-9, & Mark 7:1-13
There is a story about a Jewish rabbi in a Roman prison during the time of Jesus. The rabbi used his small daily ration of water not for drinking but for the religious ritual tradition of hand washing before eating. Because he was determined to obey the rules of ritual cleanliness, he died of thirst. This story, true or not, helps us better understand why the Pharisees are so surprised when they see the disciples of Jesus eating with unwashed hands. By ritual, they were not cleansed according to tradition. This influence of tradition is emphasized in the musical Fiddler on the Roof.
In today’s Gospel narrative, Jesus confronts some of His Jewish peers for allowing some of their traditions to distract them from the essential spirituality of their Jewish faith.
I suspect that Jesus was not attacking the Jewish religion as a whole; instead, He was simply trying to reform it. Jesus is teaching us that religion without spirituality has no soul, and spirituality without religion has nobody. Therefore when we think of religion and spirituality, we realize that we can’t have one without the other.
I want to make one quick point from our first reading from the Book of Genesis. It is quite apparent that the practice of dedicating the Sabbath, or “the Seventh Day,” to the Lord has lost its way in our American society. Many find it easy to use the Lord’s Day to do all sorts of catch-up work, which comes at the expense of using the time to pray and worship the Lord. Sunday, our Seventh Day, is a very special day for the family to spend quality time together.
We are rapidly approaching Lent when we talk about the “resolutions” to make us better persons and prepare for Easter Sunday. Here is our opportunity for every family to take charge of how they spend the Lord’s Day. Regardless of Covid-19, Sunday is made holy by our efforts to strengthen the family by spending time together and stepping away from diversions. We need to reflect and pray about this and to explain to our families, and especially our extended families, that we truly can do God’s will in “making Holy the Sabbath day.” At the very least, it won’t hurt to ask.
Question of the Day: How will you make an effort to make the Lord’s Day holy?
Prayer: “Incline my heart, O God, to your decrees; and favor me with your law. Alleluia, alleluia.”