When the Pharisees with some scribes who had come from Jerusalem
gathered around Jesus,
they observed that some of his disciples ate their meals
with unclean, that is, unwashed, hands.
(For the Pharisees and, in fact, all Jews,
do not eat without carefully washing their hands,
keeping the tradition of the elders.
And on coming from the marketplace
they do not eat without purifying themselves.
And there are many other things that they have traditionally observed,
the purification of cups and jugs and kettles and beds.)
So the Pharisees and scribes questioned him,
“Why do your disciples not follow the tradition of the elders
but instead eat a meal with unclean hands?”
“Well did Isaiah prophesy 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 as doctrines human precepts.
You disregard God’s commandment but cling to human tradition.”
He went on to say,
“How well you have set aside the commandment of God
in order to uphold your tradition!
For Moses said,
Honor your father and your mother,
and Whoever curses father or mother shall die.
Yet you say,
‘If someone says to father or mother,
“Any support you might have had from me is qorban”’
(meaning, dedicated to God),
you allow him to do nothing more for his father or mother.
You nullify the word of God
in favor of your tradition that you have handed on.
And you do many such things.”
I’m currently reading a great book by Matthew Kelly entitled the Four Signs of a Dynamic Catholic. After interviewing many active, dynamic Catholics across the country, Matthew concluded that there are four things that they all have in common:
1) A life of prayer – deepening a relationship with Jesus Christ
2) A life of study – learning about the Catholic faith
3) Generosity – giving back in time, talent and treasure
4) Evangelization – a desire to share the faith with others
As you look at this list, where do you stand in these four areas? Kelly says that only 7% of Catholics fall into the category of “Dynamic Catholics”. So many of us go through the motions of our faith. We may go to Mass every Sunday. We may have religious articles all around us. But if we do invest in our relationship with Jesus Christ through prayer and study, we are never going to get to the next level.
This is what Jesus was complaining about in this gospel. Some of the religious leaders were so focused on the rules and regulations; they missed the person of Jesus right in front of them.
Am I like these religious leaders?
Do I invest in my faith and in my relationship with Jesus?
Or am I a hypocrite that Jesus denounces in this Gospel?
Our Catholic faith is so beautiful because it is built around a deep relationship in Jesus, who is the Way, the Truth and the Life. The most important decision you will ever make is investing in your relationship with Jesus and deepening your Catholic faith. If you take this leap of faith, you will find the life abundant that Jesus promises.
Have a blessed day!