Duty for Duty

February 6, 2018
Memorial of Saints Pedro Bautista, Paul Miki and Companions, Martyrs

The Gospel Today
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. Tristan Ralf Q. Pacheco)

There was this time, when I was an active youth minister in our parish, when it can be said that my house is the church. If I am not in our house, my mother, even my siblings would say: “Kung walang pasok sa trabaho, nandun lang yan sa simbahan.”
My life then was home-parish-work. When I take a tricycle lined up at the gate of the church, I need not say where I will be going because they already know. They all know our house because I am their regular client.

It came to a point that I stay more at the church than in our home. My mother has brought up that point a lot of times and she wants that I also spend more time at home with them. She even aired the concern to her siblings that when I visited my aunts and my uncle, they told me that I should be staying home more and go home early in the evening, especially, that my mother needs a companion at times when she is all alone. My uncle also remarked: “Hindi na ako naniniwala na para pa rin sa Diyos yang ginagawa mo kung napapabayaan mo naman ang pamilya mo.” (I do not believe that what you do is still for God if, on the other hand, you neglect your family.) That statement left me dumbfounded. I was knocked off my feet. There was truth in what he said and I realized my shortcomings.

In the Gospel, Jesus said: “If someone says to father or mother “Any support you might have had from me is quorban (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.”” He clearly pointed out that we cannot justify taking for granted our duties for the reason that we are doing our duties for God.

Let us go back into the real love of God by not neglecting our duties.

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