Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Our actions will “preach” long before we open our mouths.

We cannot see God. So how can we love God, if we don't love the people we can see? - St John

Gospel text (Mk 7,1-13): 
One day the Pharisees gathered around Jesus and with them were some teachers of the Law who had just come from Jerusalem. They noticed that some of his dis¬ciples were eating their meal with unclean hands, that is, without washing them. Now the Pharisees, and in fact, all the Jews, never eat without washing their hands for they fol¬low the tradition received from their ancestors. Nor do they eat anything when they come from the market without first washing themselves. And there are many other traditions they observe, for example, the ritual washing of cups, pots and plates.

So the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law asked him, «Why do your disciples not follow the tradition of the elders, but eat with unclean hands?». Jesus answered, «You, shallow people! How well Isaiah prophesied of you when he wrote: ‘This peo-ple honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. The worship they offer me is worthless, for what they teach are only human rules’. You even put aside the commandment of God to hold fast to human tradition». And Jesus commented, «You have a fine way of dis¬regarding the commandment of God in order to implant your own tradition. For example, Moses said: ‘Do your duty to your father and your mother’, and: ‘Whoever curses his father or his mother is to be put to death’. But according to you someone could say to his father or mother: ‘I already declared Corban, which means "offered to God," what you could have expected from me’. In this case, you no longer let him do anything for a father or mother. So you nullify the word of God through the tradition you have handed on. And you do many other things like that».

In the gospel, Jesus critics were focusing on very specific behaviors (the washing of the hands) without regard to the broader picture and intent of why they need to be doing these particular things. It reminded me of how we sometimes in our daily lives lose track of why we are doing certain things – what the true picture may be.

There can be a vast difference in what we say and the actions that we take!

The saying is: "If it talks like a duck, and it walks like a duck, it probably is a duck." But what about people who talk like Christians, and live like pagans, are they believers? One can conclude that if you truly believe something, it will always have an effect on your actions.

I love the verse in scripture that states love not in “word or speech” but instead in “truth and action” (1 John 3:18). It means the measure of who we are as Catholics is not what we say on Sunday mornings or whether we wear a cross around our necks or anything like that where we profess our faith by words or symbols.

Loving deeds are a sign that we have faith. Life is not a problem to be solved but a mystery to be lived in faith, hope and love, which produces loving deeds. And the deeds are a sign that we have the faith that saves. St James reminds us that faith without works is dead (James 2:20). Let us pray for the conviction, the courage and the means to translate our faith into deeds

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