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A team of 200 priests comment on daily Gospel

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Liturgical day: Tuesday 5th in Ordinary Time

1st Reading (Gen 1:20—2:4a): God said, «Let the water teem with an abundance of living creatures, and on the earth let birds fly beneath the dome of the sky». And so it happened: God created the great sea monsters and all kinds of swimming creatures with which the water teems, and all kinds of winged birds. God saw how good it was, and God blessed them, saying, «Be fertile, multiply, and fill the water of the seas; and let the birds multiply on the earth». Evening came, and morning followed–the fifth day.

Then God said, «Let the earth bring forth all kinds of living creatures: cattle, creeping things, and wild animals of all kinds». And so it happened: God made all kinds of wild animals, all kinds of cattle, and all kinds of creeping things of the earth. God saw how good it was.

Then God said: «Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. Let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, and the cattle, and over all the wild animals and all the creatures that crawl on the ground». God created man in his image; in the divine image he created him; male and female he created them. God blessed them, saying: «Be fertile and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it. Have dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, and all the living things that move on the earth». God also said: «See, I give you every seed-bearing plant all over the earth and every tree that has seed-bearing fruit on it to be your food; and to all the animals of the land, all the birds of the air, and all the living creatures that crawl on the ground, I give all the green plants for food». And so it happened. God looked at everything he had made, and he found it very good. Evening came, and morning followed–the sixth day.

Thus the heavens and the earth and all their array were completed. Since on the seventh day God was finished with the work he had been doing, he rested on the seventh day from all the work he had undertaken. So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work he had done in creation. Such is the story of the heavens and the earth at their creation.
Responsorial Psalm: 8
R/. O Lord, our God, how wonderful your name in all the earth!
When I behold your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars which you set in place, what is man that you should be mindful of him, or the son of man that you should care for him?

You have made him little less than the angels, and crowned him with glory and honor. You have given him rule over the works of your hands, putting all things under his feet.

All sheep and oxen, yes, and the beasts of the field, the birds of the air, the fishes of the sea, and whatever swims the paths of the seas.
Verscicle before the Gospel (Ps 118:36a.29b): Alleluia. Incline my heart, o God, to your decrees; and favor me with your law. Alleluia.

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 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».

«Why do your disciples not follow the tradition of the elders»

Fr. Iñaki BALLBÉ i Turu
(Terrassa, Barcelona, Spain)

Today, we are given to see how some late traditions of the Masters of the Law had actually manipulated the true meaning of the Fourth Commandment of God's Law. Those scribes taught that sons offering money and goods to the Temple were doing well. But, according to these teachings, parents could no longer ask or dispose of these goods. And the sons educated in such conscience were, thus, under the wrong impression of having more than well accomplished with the Fourth Commandment. But, in fact, it was just a deception.

«You have a fine way of dis­regarding the commandment of God in order to implant your own tradition!» (Mk 7:9): Jesus Christ is the authentic interpreter of divine Law; this is why He explained the right meaning of the Fourth Commandment, by undoing the sad mistake of their jewish fanatism.

«Moses said: ‘Do your duty to your father and your mother’» (Mk 7:10): the Fourth Commandment reminds all sons the responsibilities they have with their parents. They have to help them, both morally and materially, to the best of their possibilities, during their aging days and when they are facing times of illness, loneliness or anguish. Jesus points out quite clearly this duty of gratitude.

The respect towards our elders (filial piety) is made out of the gratitude they deserve for the gift they have given us, i.e. our life, and for the sacrifices made for their sons to grow up in age, wisdom and grace. «With all your heart honor your father, and do not forget the birth pangs of your mother. Remember that through your parents you were born; and what can you give back to them that equals their gift to you?» (Sir 7:27-28).

The Lord honors the father in his children, and in them, also confirms the mother's right. «He who honors his father atones for sins; he obeys the Lord who brings comfort to his mother» (cf. Sir 3:2-6). These and other words of advice are a clear light for our life en relation to our parents. Let us ask our Lord the grace that we never lack the true love we owe our parents and always know, with our example, how to transmit our fellowmen this sweet “obligation”.