Saturday, September 01, 2018
22nd SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
September 2, 2018 - 22nd SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
Cycle B. Green.
Dt 4:1 - 2, 6 - 8 / Jas 1: 17- 18, 21b- 22, 27 / Mk 7: 1 - 8, 14- 15, 21 - 23
FROM THE 1ST READING: Dt 4: 1 - 2, 7- 8
And now, Israel, listen to the norms and laws which I teach that you may put them into practice. And you will live and take possession of the land which Yahweh, the God of your fathers, gives you.
Do not add anything to what I command you nor take anything away from it. But keep the commandments of Yahweh, your God, as I command you....
For in truth, is there a nation as great as ours, whose gods are as near to it as Yahweh, our God, is to us whenever we call upon him? And is there a nation as great as ours whose norms and laws are as just as this Law which I give you today?
GOSPEL READING: Mk 7:5-8, 14 -15
So the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law asked Jesus, "Why do your disciples not follow the tradition of the elders, but eat with unclean hands?"
Jesus answered, "You, shallow people! How well Isaiah prophesied of you when he wrote:This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. The worship they offer me is worthless, for what they teach are only human rules. You even put aside the commandment of God to hold fast to human tradition." ...
Jesus then called the people to him again and said to them, "Listen to me, all of you, and try to understand. Nothing that enters one man from outside can make that person unclean. It is what comes from within that makes unclean."
When I was six or seven years old, I learned an important life lesson from my mother, "Never make promises you cannot keep." This was after I punched my older sister and realized I would be in trouble that I ran to my mother (How could a mother resist a "repentant" son?) and swore I would never fight with my achi again.
Growing up I never truly learned this lesson until, while in high school, as an officer of a school club which sponsored some outreach activities, I was assigned to do and promised to deliver so many things I could not realistically do. A day before the event, I pretended to be sick, not capable of not being able to deliver what I had promised. My mother sensed what was going on and told me again, "Never make promises you cannot keep." This time she added, "When you make a promise, keep it: this shows the depth of your integrity."
Hearing Jesus in the Gospel reading today, I recall my mother's wise advice. Jesus castigated the leaders of the Jews for their worthless observance of the Law, preferring external human practice and tradition to the essence of the Law. Jesus reminds us to be true to our word, our actions and promises: these make us a true person, not external observances. We are asked to be persons of integrity: "Nothing that enters one man from outside can make that person unclean. It is what comes from within that makes unclean." (Mk 7: 15)
This is never easy in a world of empty words and hallow deeds, where words are not kept and those we love are hurt, when we insist just in the present with buzz words such as YOLO and Just Do It, a time of fleeting desires and shallow wants, where we so often are unable to see beyond our self-centeredness.
Our readings remind us to keep to our promises to God, who is indeed most faithful to his promises and word to us. Our readings remind us to hold on and keep our values, even when the world has chosen not to, and not to be lost in mere external observances. Our readings remind us of personal integrity in our word and action.
FINALLY, WE PRAY FOR ONE ANOTHER, FOR THOSE WHO HAVE ASKED OUR PRAYERS AND FOR THOSE WHO NEED OUR PRAYERS THE MOST.
Elizabeth P. Tupas
Jimmy & Gloria Chan
Have a good day!
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