Keeping God’s Commandments

12 February 2019. Tuesday of the Fifth Week in Ordinary Time

Reflection (Sem. Renz Marion Cunanan)

Rules serve as our guide on how to go about our daily lives. For this reason, we follow and abide by the rules. In our workplaces, we cannot just do what we want to do about our respective jobs and duties.  In our homes, we have to follow the rules given by our parents. In our schools, we cannot just submit recycled homework. In our parish communities, we need to follow a certain dress code when attending Mass. Wherever we go, we are expected to comply with given rules. But the good question to ask ourselves is, in following these rules, are we following them for the sake of having a good image or reputation? To be law-abiding and away from trouble? Are we also ready to question some rules that we find unhelpful or unreasonable?

            In the Gospel today, Jesus questioned the traditional rule of washing of hands before eating. The Pharisees and the Scribes observed that Jesus’ disciples eat without that ritual washing and they took it against them. But Jesus knows the hearts of these elders and readers of the law. Outside, they may appear clean and fragrant, but inside they are more unclean. I am encouraged to reflect about this and ask myself, am I really living out the word of God inside and outside of the Church? As a seminarian and a server in our parish, I aspire to be a person of integrity. Hopefully, I am living out what I learned from the Gospel and inside the Church. Some people attend Masses and participate all kinds of activities in the parish but when they go out, they are spreading gossips, they treat other people unjustly and utter unkind words to them. Rules, in context of the Gospel, are God’s commandments, which as Christians, we are expected to keep and abide by, whether we are with fellow Christians or not. May we follow these commandments wherever we go so that every person we meet may see the face of Christ in us.

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.”

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