I am with you always until the end of this world - Jesus (Matthew 28:20).

Preach the Word in season and out of season reproving, rebuking or advising always with patience and providing instructions (2 Timothy 4:2).

Do not fear, Mary, for God has looked kindly on you (Luke 1:30).

Anything worth doing is worth doing poorly. - G. K. Chesterton

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Sunday, August 30, 2015

Reflection for Sunday August 30, Twenty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time; Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23

Gospel: Mark  7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23
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.”
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A domineering husband was always critical of his wife, he would always create rules in their house for her to follow. The humble and often verbally abused wife would always follow but as years passed by she finally realized that she had enough. So she decided to permanently walk away from her arrogant husband.

Many of the Pharisees during Jesus time had that domineering attitude also, they were very strict with observing their many traditions and rituals. For example the washing of hands before eating meals, purifying oneself after going to the marketplace and they have countless more: They wanted these all to be observed.

In the gospel the Pharisees saw the followers of Jesus eating their meals without washing their hands. They therefore questioned Him: "Why did they not wash their hands first?" But as always Jesus knew about their motives, Jesus knew that they were only good with the external observance of their traditions. But deep inside them they were still the same arrogant and overbearing people who always push their weight around.

The problem with always being strict is it creates a division that  may produce a permanent wedge amongst individuals.  Jesus knew about this problem that's why he often times disregards the rules in favor of the welfare of the people. For Jesus it is first and foremost the welfare of His people before the observance of the traditions, it is first the interior cleansing before the exterior observance of the rituals.    

Strictness always results to alienation, division and permanent separation while compassion and understanding always results to love, healing and unity. Jesus would want us to always be compassionate, to always be understanding and to always be kind towards our fellowmen.

It's only through these acts of love and gentleness that we could become effective vessels of His teachings. – Marino J. Dasmarinas 

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