Now when the Pharisees and some of the scribes who had come from Jerusalem gathered around him, they noticed that some of his disciples were eating with defiled hands, that is, without washing them. (For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, do not eat unless they thoroughly wash their hands, thus observing the tradition of the elders; and they do not eat anything from the market unless they wash it; and there are also many other traditions that they observe, the washing of cups, pots, and bronze kettles.)
So the Pharisees and the scribes asked him, “Why do your disciples not live according to the tradition of the elders, but eat with defiled hands?” He said to them, “Isaiah prophesied rightly 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 human precepts as doctrines.’
You abandon the commandment of God and hold to human tradition.”
Then he said to them, “You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God in order to keep your tradition! For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and your mother’; and, ‘Whoever speaks evil of father or mother must surely die.’ But you say that if anyone tells father or mother, ‘Whatever support you might have had from me is Corban’ (that is, an offering to God)— then you no longer permit doing anything for a father or mother, thus making void the word of God through your tradition that you have handed on. And you do many things like this.”
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
“I distrust a charity that costs nothing and does not hurt,” said Pope Francis in preparation for the Lenten Season. Tomorrow is the first day of Lent. Take a moment to allow today’s Gospel to penetrate your heart. Let Christ’s challenging words make you totally uncomfortable and shake you up! It is at the heart of the Lenten season to have our heart stricken and cracked open by the word of God—for only then will the externals and superficialities fall away, leaving room for the most important, the one and only essential—God.
Before choosing what you will “sacrifice” this Lenten season, just remember that, if “getting in physical shape” is your goal for Lent, then giving up chocolate or alcohol is your best bet. But, if you desire to respond authentically to Jesus’ radical invitation, then a much harder fast is surely needed.
Lord Jesus, allow me to decide upon my Lenten sacrifice in light of your will and what you desire to be “best” for me and our human family. Allow me to recognize myself in the words of St. John Chrysostom: “No act of virtue can be great if it is not followed by advantage for others. So, no matter how much time (I) spend fasting, no matter how much (I) sleep on a hard floor and eat ashes and sigh continually, if (I) do no good to others, (I) do nothing great.”
Lord Jesus, do not let my “I” get in the way of “Your” infinite love.
—Michael Martinez, S.J.Please share the Good Word with your friends!