Setting Aside God’s Commandments (Mk 7:1-13)
O Jesus, let my heart be set only on the Heavenly Father’s will.
Picture Jesus in this controversy with the Pharisees.
Jesus rejects the piety of the Pharisees, who have gone off course. This gospel contains two stories, washing of hands and declaring things sacred. Each story contains a pronouncement. The critics come from Jerusalem, and Mark has to explain the Jerusalem customs for his readers in Rome.
Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)
The Pharisees and some scribes from Jerusalem came to Jesus. They found fault with some who ate bread with unwashed hands. The Pharisees, indeed all Jews, do not eat without washing their hands according to the tradition of the elders. Also, they never eat anything from the marketplace without sprinkling it. They also observe many other customs, for example, washing cups and jugs and kettles.
Therefore, the Pharisees and the scribes questioned Jesus, “Why do your disciples not follow the traditions of the Ancestors but they eat bread without washing their hands. Jesus answered, “Well did Isaiah prophecy about you hypocrites when he wrote, “This people honor me with their lips but their heart is far from me. In vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines what are merely human precepts.” You disregard God’s commandment and you cling to human tradition.
You even set aside God’s commandments. For example, Moses said, “Honor your father and your mother,” but you declare to your parents, ‘Any support you had from me is dedicated to God (Korban).’ Then, you do nothing for your father and mother. You nullify God’s words.”
Thoughts: (Read all. Ponder the ones that attract you.)
- These Pharisees and scribes ignore Jesus’ great powers. They concern themselves with the disciples not washing their hands.
- They have a whole list of rules which they call “the tradition of the elders.”
- They attack Jesus based upon their views of religious practice.
- Jesus sees their misguided piety. Isaiah has already confronted this problem.
- They give their lips to God but not their hearts.
- They nullify God’s laws and teach as divine what are merely human laws.
Affections: (When one touches your heart, use your own words.)
- O Jesus, you are the center of my devotion. My eyes are always upon you.
- What others do is not important. My heart is only upon you.
- Let my heart remain simple, and my piety centered on you.
- O Mary, save me from misguided piety.
- Jesus, I will obey your divine commands – to forgive, to help, and to bless everyone. Your commands are in my heart.
- Teach me your ways, O Jesus, and I will follow.
Resolutions: (Possibly you might want to make your own.)
+ I will not judge others by my standards.
+ I will give my heart to God’s important demands.
Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation.)
They honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.