MARK 7: 1-8. 14-15. 21-23
HIS WORDâ€¦ (Quoting the Prophet Isaiah) THIS PEOPLE HONORS ME WITH THEIR LIPS, BUT THEIR HEARTS ARE FAR FROM ME; IN VAIN DO THEY WORSHIP ME, TEACHING AS DOCTRINES HUMAN PRECEPTSâ€¦ YOU DISREGARD GODâ€™S COMMANDMENT BUT CLING TO HUMAN TRADITION.
my wordsâ€¦ After the Five Consecutive Sundays on the Bread of Life Discourse in the gospel of John Chapter Six, we are now back to the gospel of MARK; and this will be until the end of the Liturgical Year with the Solemnity on the Kingship of Jesus Christ in the entire Universe (Cristo Rey). And now we have heard Jesus again condemning the hypocrisy of the Pharisees and Scribes on the issue of external observances of washing their hands before eating and other â€œtradition of the eldersâ€ like, on coming from the marketplace they do not eat without purifying themselves, the traditional observances on the purification of cups and jugs and kettles and beds, and many others (Mk 7:3-4); which for Jesus is disregarding Godâ€™s commandments but clinging to human tradition (Mk 7:8), for they were teaching as doctrines human precepts (Mk 7:7). Jesus is therefore searching what is in their hearts.
Brothers and Sisters, we as Catholics accept and practice TRADITION as one of the three sources of Divine Revelation or the WORD OF GOD alongside with the Holy Bible and the Teaching Authority of the Church or the Magisterium. The Tradition of the Church contains those oral practices and teachings of the Catholic Faith handed down from generation to generations. And they are usually celebrated as external liturgies that dramatize and concretize within human experiences Godâ€™s revelation and actions upon humanity. However, if not catechized properly and understood rightly, they usually turned out to become â€œsuperstitious beliefsâ€ and are even more emphasized than living the faith according to Godâ€™s revelation to us. And this will become the â€œPharisaical Tendenciesâ€ in us.
Brothers and Sisters, TRADITION is Word of God puts into action. In dramatizing the Word of God into our lives, let us not stop at external actions and signs, let us internalize them and put them into practice realizing and deepening the Word of God as love, justice, mercy, and forgiveness. What is more important than these actions and signs, is our relationship with God and with one another; on how we manifest Godâ€™s love for us in these traditions and practices of faith. Love God and neighbor truly and we will find the true and correct meaning of these traditions of our elders.
As to ritual cleanness and cleanliness, Jesus over-emphasized the cleanness of our hearts. For â€œfrom within our hearts, come evil thoughts, unchastity, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, licentiousness, envy, blasphemy, arrogance, folly. All these evils come from within and they defileâ€ (Mk 7:21-23). In a word, the true meaning of Christian living begins in our hearts, the seat of love.
LET THE LOVE OF JESUS BE OUR STRENGTH IN CHRISTIAN LIVINGâ€¦ (By Fr. Julius C. Lupot)