Today’s Gospel: Mark 7:1-13 – Tuesday, 6 February 2018
William Barclay tells the story of a Jewish rabbi who was in a Roman prison. The rabbi used his small daily ration of water not for drinking, but for the religious ritual of handwashing before eating. Because of his determination to obey the rules of ritual cleanliness, he nearly died of thirst.
This story helps us appreciate the shock the Pharisees and the scribes had when they saw Jesus’ disciples eating food with hands that hadn’t been ritually washed.
The strict observance of the law by the Pharisees, however, was a weakness for some of them. Their concern for external regulations sometimes overshadowed their concern for internal attitudes. Rituals became more important for some than things of the heart, like love and pity.
To what extent do we honor God externally, but keep Him at a distance in our hearts? Our external acts of worship should be a true reflection of our hearts.
Jakarta, 6 February 2018
A Christian Pilgrim