22nd Sunday in ordinary time Year B, 2015. 1st Reading, Psalm and Gospel for the Sunday. A realhomilie from Fr.Kevin Walsh, Sydney Australia. Family Prayer around God’s Word, and a Blessing from Iona Abbey.
‘Why do your disciples not respect the tradition of the elders but eat their food with unclean hands?’
First Reading: Deuteronomy 4:1-2. 6-8
Moses said to the people: ‘Now, Israel, take notice of the laws and customs that I teach you today, and observe them, that you may have life and may enter and take possession of the land that the Lord the God of your fathers is giving you.
You must add nothing to what I command you, and take nothing from it, but keep the commandments of the Lord your God just as I lay them down for you. Keep them, observe them, and they will demonstrate to the peoples your wisdom and understanding. When they come to know of all these laws they will exclaim, “No other people is as wise and prudent as this great nation.” And indeed, what great nation is there that has its gods so near as the Lord our God that has laws and customs to match this whole Law that I put before you today?’
(Let’s PAUSE and reflect upon this reading, and let us ask ourselves the two questions. What is our PERSONAL response to God’s Word? This might take a few minutes, try not to rush it. The Psalm and Antiphon is the COMMUNITY response to God’s Word, a bit like a short and sweet Text Message)
Psalm: Ps 14:2-5
- The just will live in the presence of the Lord.
Lord, who shall dwell on your holy mountain?
He who walks without fault;
he who acts with justice
and speaks the truth from his heart. R.
He who does no wrong to his brother,
who casts no slur on his neighbour,
who holds the godless in disdain,
but honours those who fear the Lord. R.
He who keeps his pledge, come what may;
who takes no interest on a loan
and accepts no bribes against the innocent.
Such a man will stand firm for ever. R.
Gospel: Mark 7:1-8. 14-15. 21-23
The Pharisees and some of the scribes who had come from Jerusalem gathered round Jesus, and they noticed that some of his disciples were eating with unclean hands, that is, without washing them. For the Pharisees, and the Jews in general, follow the tradition of the elders and never eat without washing their arms as far as the elbow; and on returning from the market place they never eat without first sprinkling themselves. There are also many other observances which have been handed down to them concerning the washing of cups and pots and bronze dishes.
So these Pharisees and scribes asked him, ‘Why do your disciples not respect the tradition of the elders but eat their food with unclean hands?’ He answered, ‘It was of you hypocrites that Isaiah so rightly prophesied in this passage of scripture:
This people honours me only with lip-service,
while their hearts are far from me.
The worship they offer me is worthless,
the doctrines they teach are only human regulations.
You put aside the commandment of God to cling to human traditions.’
He called the people to him again and said, ‘Listen to me, all of you, and understand. Nothing that goes into a man from outside can make him unclean; it is the things that come out of a man that make him unclean. For it is from within, from men’s hearts, that evil intentions emerge: fornication, theft, murder, adultery, avarice, malice, deceit, indecency, envy, slander, pride, folly. All these things come from within and make a man unclean.’
Reflection time again……. Can you see and hear the links, connecting the First Reading, and the Gospel? After that, we are then ready for what is to follow…..
GOD’S WORD ALIVE TODAY!
In celebrating liturgy
Our own celebration of liturgy cannot get caught up simply in ritual observance, but must be an entire community involvement of body, mind and spirit, which always lead to wholesome living.
Within our human experience
It is easier to do ‘outside’ actions such as cleaning ‘jugs and kettles’ than it is to do the harder work of cleaning one’s heart. But it is as we do the ‘inside’ work of the heart that our ‘outside’ actions become genuine.
A realhomilie from Fr.Kevin Walsh
Dear One and all,
We are faced with death and dying every day. As soon as we turn on our Television 24/7 News, there are always cases of sudden road accidents, bombings in war torn places. Blowing up Religious shrines as we saw in Bangkok and Syria last week, and so many innocent people are either killed instantly, or a left with dreadful wounds, physically and mentally. These sudden deaths and barbaric actions do not allow people to die naturally, and hopefully have the time and disposition to say their Good Byes to loved ones and friends.
On the other hand, when we are able to be with our loved ones and friends prior to and while they are dying, it can be mostly an inspiring experience for the people around the bed. Fortunately, as a Priest I have had the privilege of being with lots of people while they are dying, including my own father and mother. During the process of dying, it is absolutely important for people around the bed to listen and speak to their loved ones in their ear! Hearing is the last sense to go. Also to touch them, kiss them, and caress them. During these moments, we are in Heaven’s Foyer! We listen to the words that might be said by our loved ones, and hold onto them. We need to be on ‘high alert’ for other experiences during this time, which might make our hair stand on end! This is all natural, it is real, and we will remember it forever. I might add that in certain circumstances it is appropriate to tell our loved ones that they can go! Hard as it is for us!
Sometimes, when our loved ones are dying, they make wish to say something to the whole family like, ‘I love you’ or they may wish to speak to individuals in private; this was the case while my Dad was dying. Some of the things that he said to me were….”Son, look after your mother for me, right to the end!” While my Mum was dying, she gently and lovingly looked at my sister (Genny) and her Tibetan Spaniel Dog Rosie, and me with the deepest love, deeper than the blue sea. No words were needed; volumes were being communicated much faster than via Bluetooth or Wi Fi! The things that our loved ones say to us prior to and up to their death, are true, real and to the point. As we say here in Australia, ‘there is no beating around the bush!’
In the first Reading today, from the Book of Deuteronomy, we have Moses saying his farewell words to God’s people prior to his death on Mt Nebo,while he and God’s people were facing the promised land and the River that they would have to cross to enter into the Promised Land. Moses did not ‘beat around the bush’ in what he had to say to the assembled community! Moses knew that he was dying, so what he had to say was deeply important. Like the words spoken by our loved ones prior to their death, it is not the time for flowery language! What Moses had to say was a neat, complete and serious summary of the implications of the Lord God initiating a Marriage Covenant with His people. It also reminded the people of the guidelines given to them from the Lord God as to how to live a righteous life in the community of Israel!
Today’s gospel see Jesus coming face to face with one of the biggest obstacle he had to face in his ministry. The Jewish religious leaders were totally preoccupied with externals, with law, and with conformity to ritual. Jesus was interested in the human heart, and what was going on there. This brought him into direct conflict with those leaders, and it was they who eventually killed him. Like Moses in the first Reading, Jesus did not ‘beat around the bush’ in what he had to say to them. Even though Jesus at this stage of the Gospel was not about to die, what he had to say was the truth, and the reality of the Lord God’s understanding of real commitment, which begins inside a person’s heart and soul. This is what matters, not just applying the externals to try and hoodwink the Lord God. Again, we can say, “the faces have changed but the message remains the same” in our own day; for all time. Food for thought!
Many years ago when I was a teenager (Almost Old Testament Times, 1950’s) there used to be an advertisement on the Radio for some brand of Health Salts, I cannot remember the name of it; perhaps you might know it…you might like to tell me over the weekend if it rings a bell with you. Anyhow, if I remember rightly the blurb said something like ‘inner cleanliness comes first.’ I see this linked to what Jesus was getting at in the Gospel of today. It is really very important that we try to see things as Jesus sees them, and as he would want us to see them. Jesus sees through the masks that we might ware, the colour of our skin, the sicknesses that we may have, and even the vacant stare! When we stand before the Lord we are really like an opened-out canvas, opened right out to the edges, with the whole picture exposed to view, the good, the bad, the ugly and our inner beauty; with no picture frame to brighten it up! In the Book of Genesis, we read that when Adam and Eve sinned, they hid from God. We can’t hide from God, and we should not even waste time trying to do it. As the Psalm says, ‘You know me through and through. You knew me before I was formed in my mother’s womb. If I went up into the highest mountain, you are there….’
The organ God gave us with which to pray is our heart, not necessarily our tongues.
‘These people honour me with lip service, but their hearts are far from me’.
I remember when I was in Assisi some years ago being struck by the words on the wall above the high altar in the Basilica, ‘Si cor non orat, in vanum lingua laborat’. The translation is: If the heart is not praying, the tongue labours in vain.’ Jesus virtually said that the worship of the people who were perfectionists in keeping to the externals of the law was a farce, because they replaced God’s commands with their own hand made teachings.
We need to clean our hearts (Psalm 50/51 is a great Act of Contrition) Repentance, conversion, whatever you like to call it, is to have our hearts cleansed, and to have our inner being totally reconditioned. That is where the Holy Land is intended to be. That is our Bethlehem, our Calvary, our Upper Room, and our place of Pentecost! Our hearts are intended to be a ‘prayer room; our words, actions and deeds are the fruits of what happens in that room! Everyday life within our families, our work place, in the Shopping centres, the roads (this one is a mighty challenge for me, I must confess, but I am not the perfect driver) All these places are where the fruits of the Lord’s message, digested within the heart through reflection, are lived out! We can listen to some of the greatest Sermons in Church, but if that is not lived out sensitively in Pastoral care by the Homilist, or listeners, it’s all window dressing! If the so called ‘good’ Christian in their own eyes, cannot even take the time to share some compassion with people who have lost their loved ones in death! They need to re-examine themselves, and see who is fooling who? This is a wakeup call for me too! As Jesus said, ‘let they without sin, cast the first stone.’ A very important reminder…or pop up alert, as we have on our Computers. Food for thought!
OUR FAMILY PRAYER TIME………
Leader: Keeping God’s commandments and living rightly is demanding. Let us pray for the strength to have hearts turned to God.
- That the Church’s actions on behalf of others, May always come from hearts tuned into God. Lord hear us. Lord hear our prayer.
- That nations not allow cultural traditions and differences to lead to hatred and war. Lord hear us. Lord hear our prayer.
- That those blinded by selfish narrow-mindedness turn their hearts to God, and the good of others. Lord hear us. Lord hear our prayer.
- That each of us have the strength to keep God’s laws faithfully so that we might come to life and share it with others. Lord hear us. Lord hear our prayer.
- Let’s think back over the past week, and what we have seen on the T.V News, Breaking News on our Mobile Phones, iPads & tablets….who are some of the people in our Global village or need our prayers? You might like to share some of these…………., Lord hear us. Lord hear our prayer.
Leader: All-powerful God, you gave your people commandments to guide them to right relationship with you: hear these our prayers that our hearts may always be turned to you so that one day we might enjoy everlasting life. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Blessing is taken from the Iona Abbey Sacramentary, Scotland.
Iona Abbey is located on the Isle of Iona, just off the Isle of Mull on the West Coast of Scotland. It is one of the oldest and most important religious centres in Western Europe. The abbey was a focal point for the spread of Christianity throughout Scotland and marks the foundation of a monastic community by St. Columba, when Iona was part of the Kingdom of Dál Riata.
- The Cross
- ALL WE SHALL TAKE IT.
- The bread……………
- ALL WE SHALL BREAK IT.
- The pain
- ALL WE SHALL BEAR IT.
- The joy………………
- ALL WE SHALL SHARE IT.
- The Gospel……………
- ALL WE SHALL LIVE IT.
- The love…………
- ALL WE SHALL GIVE IT.
- The light……………
- ALL WE SHALL CHERISH IT.
- The darkness…………….
- ALL WE SHALL PERISH IT. AMEN
- ‘Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven……’ living authentically the Word of God, is actualising the Kingdom of God, here and now, but not yet complete!’ We await, and work towards the New Heavens, and the New Earth, the New Jerusalem, as seen in the Book of Revelation.
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