Faith Daily | 8 February 2022
PRAYER of the DAY - APBA p 535
Father of all,
who gave your only-begotten Son
to take upon himself the form of a servant
and to be obedient even to death on a cross:
give us the same mind that was in Christ Jesus,
that, sharing in his humility,
we may come to be with him in his glory;
where he lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.
GOSPEL for the Day: Mark 7: 1-13
Now when the Pharisees and some of the scribes who had come from Jerusalem gathered around him, 2they noticed that some of his disciples were eating with defiled hands, that is, without washing them. 3(For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, do not eat unless they thoroughly wash their hands, thus observing the tradition of the elders; 4and they do not eat anything from the market unless they wash it; and there are also many other traditions that they observe, the washing of cups, pots, and bronze kettles.) 5So the Pharisees and the scribes asked him, “Why do your disciples not live according to the tradition of the elders, but eat with defiled hands?” 6He said to them, “Isaiah prophesied rightly about you hypocrites, as it is written,
‘This people honors me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me; 7in vain do they worship me, teaching human precepts as doctrines.’
8You abandon the commandment of God and hold to human tradition.”
9Then he said to them, “You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God in order to keep your tradition! 10For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and your mother’; and, ‘Whoever speaks evil of father or mother must surely die.’ 11But you say that if anyone tells father or mother, ‘Whatever support you might have had from me is Corban’ (that is, an offering to God)— 12then you no longer permit doing anything for a father or mother, 13thus making void the word of God through your tradition that you have handed on. And you do many things like this.”
GOSPEL REFLECTION: Mary Dean
A whole regime of external observances had grown up among the people – authorised by self-appointed religious experts. People could be judged religious or irreligious depending on how they ticked those ‘boxes’. The focus had shifted away from heartfelt acceptance of God’s demands – to religious ‘formalism’ as expressed in a vast range of customs and rituals.
Jesus was well aware of how some people could use lip service to an array of regulations as a means of avoiding any real commitment to God’s very own teaching and way which might go right to a person’s heart.
Jesus with his uneducated disciples is mixing with sophisticated Pharisees from Jerusalem, men who have mastered the intricate rules about ritual purity, and look down on those who are ignorant of them. As Christians we can set up our own norms of what is God-fearing and respectable, and forget that it is the heart that matters. Jesus always sees through the externals of behaviour to the love and goodness that may lie beneath.
Jesus invites us to consider how we follow God in our hearts and cautions us against being distracted by human traditions. I need to review my habits and patterns of activity, asking God to help me to be true and honest in how I respond to His love and His calling on my life and not do things just because I feel it is expected of me. My motives need to be pure.
King David left us a beautiful consoling prayer that we can make our own:
Psalm 51; 10-12
“Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me away from your presence, And do not take your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation, And uphold me with your generous Spirit”