22nd Sunday of Ordinary Time

"Calling the people to him again Jesus said to them, ’Listen to me, all of you, and understand.’
Monday 31 August 2015

Dt.4, 1-2.6-8 Ps. 33 Jq. 1, 17-18 21b-22.27 Mk. 7, 1-8. 14-15.21-23

22nd Sunday of Ordinary Time, year ’B’

“The Pharisees and some of the scribes who had come from Jerusalem gathered around him, and they noticed that some of his disciples were eating with unclean hands, that is, without washing them.”

Here Jesus tells us what he thinks of the practice of rituals, inviting us to place religion in its proper place, that is, to reflect the commandment of love. He always orientates us towards worshipping ’in spirit and in truth’. The Covenant with God is tied within the heart and is lived out in the quality of the life we lead with other people. It is possible for us to have a double language, to ’appear’ and not to’ be’. It can come about that we may become detached from the source, miserable as we are, and to no longer love one another. The reflection Jesus has is so true : ’’This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.’ Every day the Word is verified in the dealings we have with one another, when the source of our life is no longer in God. And so it is just an exterior way of functioning which does not come from the heart. Jesus says ’It is from within, from the heart of man that perverse thoughts come out.’ These say who we are outside of God. God has placed an infinite Love in our hearts, one that is for Him and for our sisters and brothers. He gives us the possibility to come back to Him, to give thanks for all that he gives to us, to marvel at his gifts and to share together this marvel.

“For the Pharisees and all the Jews, keep the tradition of the elders and never eat without washing their their arms as far as the elbow; and on returning from the market place they never eat without first sprinkling themselves. There are also many other observances which have been handed down to them to keep, concerning the washing of cups and pots and bronze dishes. So the Pharisees and scribes asked him, ’Why do your disciples not respect the tradition of the elders but eat their food with unclean hands?”

For the first time, Jesus treats the people he is speaking to as traitors. ’This people honours me with their lips but their heart is far from me.’ The true source of impunity is in the heart of man and not in the gestures he makes. There is much at stake in this declaration, for if purity does not reside in rituals, but in the up righteousness of the heart, a faithful pagan can find their place in the Kingdom that Jesus announces! And so this Joy within us comes from God and must return to God in order to give Him thanks. It is this love that purifies our heart and makes it pure, and a good one. ’Powerful God, from whom all perfect gifts comes, deepen in our hearts love of your name’ goes the prayer. A good heart is a filial one that receives itself from God and returns to Him in thanksgiving.

“Jesus answered them,” How rightly Isaiah prophesized about you hypocrites in the passage of scripture : ’This people honours me only with lip-service, while their hearts are far from me. Their reverence of me is worthless; the lessons they teach are nothing but human commandments.“You put aside the commandment of God to observe human traditions. And he said to them, ’How ingeniously you get round the commandment of God in order to preserve your own tradition!’ He called the people again to him again and said, ’Listen to me, all of you, and understand. Nothing that goes into someone from the outside can make that person unclean ; it is the things that come out of someone that makes that person unclean. For it is from within, from the heart, that evil intentions emerge : fornication, theft, murder, adultery, avarice, malice, deceit, indecency, envy, slander, pride, folly. All these things come from within and make a person unclean.”

In this marvelous reality, love that flows out to its source once again overflows. We are this link of love with God, an overflowing love which bursts forth from our hearts out of the Infinite Love of God. This movement of Infinite Love is the movement of the Love of God’s Heart, the most precious pearl there is. ’ It is in this movement of love that we find life.

We ask for the grace to be truly found on God’s Heart and in His Joy, and to let all the love that dwells in our heart to go back to God.