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Back The Twenty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time
Sunday, August 29, 2021
From the Desk of Fr. Ron........
Do you remember ever having “watched the clock” so as to be able to enjoy that full steak meal at the stroke of midnight that declared the end of our Friday Fast? I do….
If you do than you’ll remember a time when we lived our Catholic life by the letter of the Church’s law. Things seemed so much simpler then. Things always appeared to be black and white with no gray areas in between; no noticeable exceptions.
In the beginning of the life of the chosen people, God spoke through Moses and declared His law as the foundation of the Chosen People’s life together. It clearly spelled out the God’s expectations in a broad sort of way that didn’t leave His people wondering what was right and what was wrong. This teaching is very well summarized in this weekend’s first reading from the Book of Law: Deuteronomy. The fact that the Living God was well engaged with His followers was a source of pride in being part of the “Chosen People of God.”
As we have finished the whole of Chapter Six of the Gospel of John and Jesus as the “Bread of Life,” we continue again the study of the Gospel of Mark. In this weekend’s passage Jesus addresses two audiences: the Pharisees and the crowd and His disciples. The Pharisees bring to Jesus’ attention that His disciples are in violation of the Jewish law’s guidance for meals and ritual washing. In a rather stern response Jesus takes issue with the Pharisees’ claim that their meal guidance carries the weight of the Law of Moses. He further criticizes their use of “lip service” in these small matters while disregarding the more important Laws of Moses. Jesus then goes on to address the crowd and His disciples about the truth that what we take into our body doesn’t make us sinful but what comes out of the deep recesses of our hearts. It is these that defile.
Our second reading comes from the letter of James that encourages us to humbly welcome the “word that has been planted in you.” But we are to act upon the word not only be hearers. He then gives us an example of living the spirit of God’s word within us. “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God and the Father is this: to care for orphans and widows in their affliction and to keep oneself unstained by the world” James 1:27.
Our African American sisters and brothers have a saying that captures this truth. One has to “Walk the walk not only talk the talk!” True faith is not only knowing knowledge about the teachings of Jesus and the Church. True faith is living these teachings out in everyday life. Only then are we truly “walking the walk” that Jesus expects of us; living the Spirit and Truth of God’s Law.