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A team of 200 priests comment on daily Gospel

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Liturgical day: Tuesday 5th in Ordinary Time

Gospel text (Mk 7,1-13): 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?». 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 dis­ciples 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 fol­low 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 peo­ple 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 dis­regarding 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».

Illustration: Francesc Badia

Today we see that in Jesus’s times men already acted in the same way as they do today: they invented a religion according to their needs; a religion of many “to dos” and little divinity! God had never asked Moses to tell the people to wash their hands and arms to the elbow, or to purify cups, jars and so on, among so many other unbearable burdens to carry. They were the ones that invented all that!

-Jesus wants us to wash our heart. If we have a clean heart we will “discover” what the wants of our neighbour are, and then we can go and help him out.