MARK 7:15 (Today’s Gospel Reading: Mark 7:14-23)

Jakarta, 9 February 2022

A Christian Pilgrim


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MARK 7:13 (Today’s Gospel Reading: Mark 7:1-13)

Jakarta, 8 February 2022

A Christian Pilgrim


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MARK 7:6-8 (Today’s Gospel Reading: Mark 7:1-8,14-15,21-23)

Jakarta, 29 August 2021

A Christian Pilgrim


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(A biblical reflection on the 22nd SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME [YEAR B] – 29 August 2021)

Gospel Reading: Mark 7:1-9,14-15,21-23

First Reading: Deuteronomy 4:1-2,6-8; Psalms: Psalm 15:2-5; Second Reading: James 1:17-18,21-22,27

The Scripture Text

Now when the Pharisees gathered together to Him, with some of the scribes, who had come from Jerusalem, they saw that some of His disciples ate with hands defiled, that is, unwashed. (For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, do not eat unless they wash their hands, observing the tradition of the elders; and when they come from the market place, they do not eat unless they purify themselves; which they observe, the washing of cups and pots and vessels of bronze. And the Pharisees and the scribes asked Him, “Why do Your disciples not live according to the tradition of the elders, but eat with hands defiled?” and He said to them, “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written, ‘This people honors Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me; in vain do they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the precepts of men.’ You leave the commandment of God, and hold fast the tradition of men.”

And He said to them, “You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God, in order to keep your tradition!

And He called the people to Him again, and said to them, “Hear Me, all of you, and understand: there is nothing outside a man which by going into him can defile him; but the things which come out of a man are what defile him.”

For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, fornication, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, licentiousness, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a man.” (Mark 7:1-9,14-15,21-23 RSV)

The Pharisees who confronted Jesus about His disciples’ ritual purity were so concerned with strict observance of the law – some of which didn’t even come from God – that they lost sight of God’s desire for mercy, justice, and love. More than anything else, such inverted priorities caused Jesus to respond abruptly and forcefully as He directed His disciples to look at the state of their hearts before they considered their actions.

When we look at Jesus’ description of the human heart and the sins that rise from it (see Mark 7:20-21), we might feel a sense of self-condemnation and despair. After all, who could look at such a list without seeing something of a reflection of their inner state?

God calls us to examine our hearts not so that we would feel condemned, but that we would know freedom and peace. Many saints have commented that the more deeply they saw their sin, the more fully they recognized God’s mercy and love. The humility they demonstrated was not cowardice, but a recognition of their need for God, coupled with confidence in His power at work in them. In fact, they considered it a privilege to come to such self-knowledge, for it always led them to the Lord. It was this privilege that these Pharisees denied themselves and prevented their followers from experiencing.

Through His Cross, Jesus has forgiven our sins. He shed His blood to cleanse our hearts. We don’t have to be perfect to be accepted by God. We simply have to respond to Him by repenting for our sins, loving Him in return, and choosing with a willing heart to obey Him. Jesus will take care of the rest. Looking into our hearts is not such a bad thing when we realize that in the midst of the sin and darkness, Jesus is still there, wanting to shine His light more brightly.

Prayer: Lord Jesus Christ, by Your Cross You conquered sin. In Your resurrection You removed condemnation. May these truths give us the freedom to examine our hearts and know the power of Your Holy Spirit as we seek to please You and obey Your commands. Amen.HisHis

Jakarta, 28 August 2021

A Christian Pilgrim


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Today’s Gospel Reading: Mark 7:1-13 -5th ORDINARY WEEK: 12 February 2019

The Pharisees and the scribes were so afraid and jealous of Jesus’ popularity that they were constantly trying to find fault with Jesus and His actions. In today’s Gospel it is the matter of ceremonial washings before eating meals. Some of the disciples had omitted this unimportant ceremony, and immediately the Pharisees were aware of it and confronted Jesus with it as if  it were a terrible omission.

Jesus addresses the Pharisees and the scribes as fools. And all this because of their hypocrisy and dishonesty. They were keeping their traditions, not out of love of God and neighbor, but to perpetuate their own favored position and to look holy in the eyes of their fellow Jews.

Before we get too indignant at these Pharisees, let us take a look at ourselves. Are we (you and I) always honest with ourselves, with God and neighbor? When we keep certain commandments or regulations, do we keep them because they are God’s will or just to look good to others? Do we simply want ourselves to be considered law abiding Christians because this has its advantages, both in our own self pride as well as socially? Or, are we really honestly interested in the law of love of God and neighbor, and keep every other commandment in such a way, and with such an intention, that our acts, our words, our thoughts are all expressions of our Christian love?

Jakarta, 12 February 2019

A Christian Pilgrim

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Posted by on February 12, 2019 in TODAY'S THOUGHT 2019


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