February 11, 2014

The Gospel Today 

Tuesday of the Fifth Week in Ordinary Time

Mark 7:1-13

When the Pharisees with some scribes who had come from Jerusalem
gathered around Jesus,
they observed that some of his disciples ate their meals
with unclean, that is, unwashed, hands.
(For the Pharisees and, in fact, all Jews,
do not eat without carefully washing their hands,
keeping the tradition of the elders.
And on coming from the marketplace
they do not eat without purifying themselves.
And there are many other things that they have traditionally observed,
the purification of cups and jugs and kettles and beds.)
So the Pharisees and scribes questioned him,
“Why do your disciples not follow the tradition of the elders
but instead eat a meal with unclean hands?”
He responded,
“Well did Isaiah prophesy about you hypocrites,
as it is written:

This people honors me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me;
In vain do they worship me,
teaching as doctrines human precepts.

You disregard God’s commandment but cling to human tradition.”
He went on to say,
“How well you have set aside the commandment of God
in order to uphold your tradition!
For Moses said,
Honor your father and your mother,
and Whoever curses father or mother shall die.
Yet you say,
‘If someone says to father or mother,
“Any support you might have had from me is qorban”’
(meaning, dedicated to God),
you allow him to do nothing more for his father or mother.
You nullify the word of God
in favor of your tradition that you have handed on.
And you do many such things.”

Reflection (Sem. John Paul Adia):

            My background is my pride! This is getting evident as I give myself in our priestly formation. I achieved so many things: I worked as one of our best staff nurses and I have been a man of good reputation. Sometimes these things are my masks that cover me whenever I see people greater than me. My pride is telling me that I should let myself be heard – even just my own presence. And this is what the Pharisees reflected in my self. I trust my own pride. This pride is my own tradition. I feel like I am a learned who is able to understand many things. But my seminary life has blessed me to understand this personal issue. I am almost blinded by the thought that I am a strong person, able to face any personality and challenges. As I gradually indulge myself in the formation, I found out that I have an issue with self-esteem. And the pride that tried to cover me like a shell became my defense mechanism. To be able to conquer my fear of being set aside or belittled, I try to show the good impressions that I have made to make the people around love me. Whenever there is someone better that can outdo my attainment, I feel like I am triggered and I start to ask myself to what is lacking on me.

            The tendency to make myself be heard is strong. There was an instance where I offended someone with my answer or response to a certain issue. I was very angry that I did not even want to say sorry. I felt like I was the one worthy to receive an apology. But this just worsened the situation. It came to a point when I did not even want to see that person. My pride pushed me not to be humble enough to recognize my own faults. The time that I tried to step down and see the better option of humbling myself was the only time that I was able to breathe – to accept my imperfections.

            This situation is an eye-opener to me that I should see the Greater Person who accomplished more than I did; that Person who humbles Himself more than I did – and that is Jesus Christ. He is All-Knowing and Mighty that He is not worthy to receive such belittling from Pharisees. I am praying that God may bless us with His humility to be able to understand our neighbor and with faith, which believes without any pride.

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