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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): One day the Pharisees gathered around Jesus and with them were some teachers of the Law who had just come from Jerusalem (…). They (…) 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 peo¬ple 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» (…).

Jesus, the prophetic interpreter of "Moses' Law"

EDITORIAL TEAM evangeli.net (based on texts by Benedict XVI)
(Città del Vaticano, Vatican)

Today, Jesus denounces the scribes and Pharisees to cling indiscriminately to the “traditions of the ancestors”. Jesus is neither a rebel nor a liberal, but the prophetic interpreter of the Law of Moses: he does not suppress it, but fulfills it by demanding a reasoned moral responsibility (because the laws are not necessarily good simply for its tradition). Isaiah and other prophets had made the same complaint.

Inside the “Torah” we distinguish: 1) a “casuistic law”, suitable for a historical Israel but subject to change; 2) the “essential principles” of the divine law with which the practical rules —of Israel and all the people— must be confronted, developed and corrected. Jesus did not do anything unusual when he opposes the practiced casuistic rules developed in the “Torah” with the pure will of God as the “greatest justice” expected from the children of God.

—Jesus, as the “Chosen” and the prophet who is with God “face to face”, asks the fullest observance of the “Torah”.