Let us praise and worship the Lord by word and deed, at all times throughout our lifetime, and in every way possible...

22nd Sunday of the Year - B

Dew. 4: 1-2, 6-8; Psalm 14; James 1: 17-18, 21b-22.27; Mark 7: 1-8, 14-15, 21-23

Read: Jesus answered: “It was because of you hypocrites that Isiah so rightly prophesised about you, you double-faced people, as was written: ‘These people honour me only with lip-service, whilst their hearts are far from me. The worship they offer me is worthless talk; the doctrines they teach are only man’s regulations.’ Thus, you put aside God’s commandments so that you cling to human traditions.”

Reflect: The Evangelist St. Mark reminds us of these Jesus’ harsh words because St. Mark was conscious of the risk that the Church might fall for this double-faced worship, and the danger that mankind’s traditions would be considered as being God’s laws. Strict observance of clear regulations that makes mankind feel that one’s duty is being carried out by doing the least possible, by just about not breaking the rules, makes mankind feel justified before God; and, indeed, feels that God, in some way, has some obligation towards mankind.

A human being like this forgets that the essence of God’s law is based on genuine love, from one’s innermost parts, towards God and one’s neighbour. One who loves genuinely does his utmost to love even more, uses his imagination, gives attention, and is totally and unconditionally close to his neighbour.  Put simply, one goes well beyond what is expected of him. This because people’s needs change, and whoever loves, asks himself what more, or differently, needs to be done according to the needs of one’s neighbour.

Religion that comes from the heart can be practiced by those who have reached maturity and adulthood, those who can freely chose, be sincere and open to Christ’s enlightenment and to the Spirit. Those who are “still infants in Christ” (1 Cor. 3:1) are afraid of risk; they prefer to have precise and detailed rules, whilst in their heart they feel that such type of religion, based on regulations, does not permit them to be at liberty, they do not transmit happiness and internal peace, but only tension and anxiety.

Pray: Lord, who lives in your house? Whoever lives without blame and does good, whoever speaks the truth from his heart, those who do not speak badly about their neighbour. Who does not commit evil to his neighbour nor call his neighbour names; who does not esteem evil-doers, but honours those who fear the Lord. Who lends without interest, and who is not bribed against those who are blameless. Whoever does this will never be summoned. (Psalm 14)

Act: Let us empty ourselves of frivolous matters, from empty legalism, from soulless repetition. Let us praise and worship the Lord by word and deed, at all times throughout our lifetime, and in every way possible. 

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