“THIS PEOPLE HONOURS ME WITH THEIR LIPS, BUT THEIR HEART IS FAR FROM ME” (Mark 7:6)
📕Deut 4:1-2, 6-8; Ps 15:2-3a, 3bc-4ab, 5 (R.v.1a); Jam 1:17-18, 21b-22, 27; Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23
On a daily basis, the number of churches and religious adherents keeps on increasing all over the world. But has that made the world to be a better place? Surely, no! In fact, it would seem that things are continuously becoming worse. What can we say that contributes to this? The answer is found in the theme for today’s reflection.
People are more interested in showing off their religious sentiments than in serving the God of religion. We want to be called pastors, Most Rev., Snr. Apostle, etc., without bothering to live out the requirements of those offices. We are ready to go on a dry fasting for 7 days to prove our righteousness before men. But we are ready to kill and destroy within those days of fasting.
Many of us prefer to belong to different known societies in the Church, Knight of St. JohnBosco and the likes while we are arch-members of the secret cults and witchcraft coven. Today’s liturgy warns us to remember that our God is one who sees what is done even in secret places. We can deceive man with our outward appearances but we cannot deceive this God.
You might be keeping all the religious observances and even rise to a very high status in the Church, but on the last day, the Lord will be interested in how clean your heart is.
That does not mean to say that the Lord plays down on our observance of the Law. The First Reading tells us of the importance of keeping the Laws without leaving out any. That means, it is not wrong for the Pharisees in the Gospel to demand from Jesus why his disciples do not keep the Laws. The only error is on the fact that they are interested in keeping the letters of the Law without considering the spirit of the Law.
Note that all the Laws of God were meant to help us to relate well with God and with our neighbour. That is why Jesus summarised the Law into the love of God and the love of neighbour. Hence, St. James, in the Second Reading was able to narrow down the demands of Religion to those virtues that help us to fulfil the mission of Christ, as stated in Luke 4:18-19.
If we allow the love of God to rule our religious sentiments, no matter what religion we belong to, the world will be a better place, and the face of God will shine upon us.
May God give us the grace to love him above all things, and our neighbour as he has loved us, through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Have a fulfilling Sunday with the Lord. Peace be with you.