22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time-B
I Reading: Deuteronomy 4:1-2.6-8: Moses urges the people to observe God’s commandments if they wish to have life and be recognised by the world as wise and prudent.
II Reading: James 1:17-18: We are the children of God, blessed with God’s word and called to submit to it, in particular by caring for those who are poor.
Gospel: Mark 7:1-8,14-15,21-23: it is a tragedy to follow human traditions rather than the laws of God and to be unaware that evil comes from the heart, not from the failures to observe ritual washings.
The Emptiness of (Man-Made) Tradition, Ritual, Ceremony, Works:
Who is a true and good Christian?
One who listens attentively to God’s Word and acts accordingly, keep his/her heart clean and helps his/her brothers and sisters in need.
This passage is based and focused upon institutionalized religion, tradition, ritual, ceremony and works. A true religion is to give one’s own heart to God; external rules may help, but they do not make a person truly religious just by themselves.
People may survive only when they accept each other and reconciled to God in Christ and live in peace and love and experience the joy and hope of Christ and walk humbly and live a life of service.
1. The religionists found fault with Jesus’ disciples (v.1-5)
a. A fact finding commission from Jerusalem
b. The fault: Eating with unwashed and unclean hands
i. The tradition of cleanliness explained
ii. The tradition illustrated
c. The charge against the disciples was brought to Jesus
2. Tradition can be hypocritical honor (v.6)
3. Tradition can be empty, worthless worship (v.7)
4. Tradition can be man-made commandments (v.8)
5. Tradition can be kept before the commandments of God (v.9-12)
a. They twisted God’s commands
b. They insisted on obedience to tradition
6. Tradition can nullify the Word of God or make the Word of God ineffective (v.13)
The Things That Defile, That Make a Person Unclean: Mk 7:14-23
Jesus shook the world and revolutionized people’s idea of evil and wrong doing. Jesus is making people totally depend upon God for salvation and life.
1. Jesus called the crowd to him (v.14-17)
a. The importance stressed: Listen and understand
b. The point stated
c. The disciples’ dullness
2. Explanation 1: The thing that enters the body does not defile nor make unclean (v.18-19)
a. It does not enter the heart
b. it enters the digestive tract
3. Explanation 2: The thing that comes out from the heart does defile (v.20-22)
a. The sins
4. Explanation 3: The source of evil is the heart (v.23)
Thought: Love must be at the centre of all religion. The Pharisees added hundreds of rules to the ten commandments; Jesus instead, reduced the ten commandments to a single rule: “Love one another as I have loved you.” (Jn 13:34)
James repeats Jesus’ commandment in another form: Do not boast of just believing in Christ; your faith is of no use unless you are concerned about the poor. (James 3:14-16)
Love for our neighbour will show what our religion really is, whether fake or genuine.
Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up (James 4:10). Humility is a problem to most people. Why? Because the world looks upon humility as a sign of weakness and cowardice.