From Mark Chapter 7
When the Pharisees with some scribes who had come from Jerusalem gathered around Jesus, they observed that some of his disciples ate their meals with unclean, that is, unwashed, hands.
– For the Pharisees and, in fact, all Jews, do not eat without carefully washing their hands, keeping the tradition of the elders. And on coming from the marketplace they do not eat without purifying themselves.
And there are many other things that they have traditionally observed, the purification of cups and jugs and kettles and beds. –
So the Pharisees and scribes questioned him, “Why do your disciples not follow the tradition of the elders but instead eat a meal with unclean hands?”
He responded, “Well did Isaiah prophesy about you hypocrites, as it is written: This people honors me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines human precepts. You disregard God’s commandment but cling to human tradition.”
He summoned the crowd again and said to them, “Hear me, all of you, and understand. Nothing that enters one from outside can defile that person; but the things that come out from within are what defile.
“From within people, from their hearts, come evil thoughts, unchastity, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, licentiousness, envy, blasphemy, arrogance, folly. All these evils come from within and they defile.”Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23
About Human Traditions
In this gospel reading, the Pharisees are questioning Jesus about tradition. They follow the letter of the law. But Jesus is the spirit of the law. The Pharisees follow the law for the sake of the law. It makes them feel superior and gives them a sense of righteousness.
But Jesus came to show us that the true purpose of the law is to teach us to love. If we follow the law exactly, but lack in love, then we are disregarding God’s commandments. He reminds us that the law is meant to make our hearts like the heart of God. Therefore, it is the things in our heart which really matter.
The readings for the Twenty-Second Sunday in The readings for the 22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time Year B tell us to be wary of those things which lead us to sin and remind us that we must really follow Jesus in our hearts.
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