Twenty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time
Book of Deuteronomy 4:1-2, 6-8, Psalm 15:2-5, Letter of Saint James 1:17-18, 21b-22, 27, and Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23
Today, we return to the Gospel according to Saint Mark and find Jesus inviting the scribes and Pharisees to reflect on the why of their customs rather than the what. The Jewish religious officials notice that Jesus and His disciples do not keep the "traditions" of their elders. The "law" is one thing, but their "traditions" are added practices that extend the "law" and the power and prestige of the Rabbis who endorsed them. The washing of hands and cups is the center of the problem in this Gospel narrative. However, there are other issues to the "law" to which Jesus takes exception.
The Law of Moses was part of the Covenant that God made with the Jews and was meant to support their relationship to this pact with God. In a sense, God is saying, "I have done all these great things for you; keeping the laws and customs is how you must live." The practice and little traditions have gotten in the way as they have become responses to the religious officials. The keeping of these practices has become more important than keeping their relationship which God has kept alive in their hearts.
Jesus, like Moses before Him, offers us reminders of the relationship which God has extended to us. He embraces our interior with all of our fragilities. The exterior actions will reflect the status of the battle inside. If we pretend that there is no battle going on is to be in delusion. Acting by strict conformity to rules, laws, customs, and traditions out of fear may look good but eventually will result in confusion, distraction, and disorder in our lives. Externals are the revelation of truth rather than a cover for a lie. Jesus came to give us our truth and invites us to reveal it.
Question of the Day: How will you enhance your relationship with God the Father through the teachings of Jesus His Son?
Prayer: "The one who does justice will live in the presence of the Lord." Amen. (Psalm 15)