WEEK TWENTY TWO– SUNDAY – B – AUGUST 29, 2021 – WASHING HANDS – LIP SERVICE (MK 7:1-8)

Prayer:

O Jesus, let my heart be set only on the Heavenly Father’s will. 

Imagination:

Picture Jesus in this controversy with the Pharisees. 

Context:

These critics come from Jerusalem to find fault with Jesus’ disciples. Instead, Jesus finds fault with their piety. This gospel contains two Pharisic practices – washing of hands and declaring things sacred. Mark explains these practices for his Gentile Christians who have no idea. 

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 Elders 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.) 

  1. These Pharisees and scribes totally ignore Jesus’ miracles. They are concerned that some disciples do not wash their hands. 
  2. They have a whole list of rules concerning washing which they call “the tradition of the elders.” 
  3. They attack Jesus based upon their views of religious practice. 
  4. Jesus sees their misguided piety. He quotes Isaiah who has already confronted this problem. 
  5. They give their lips to God but not their hearts. 
  6. They teach as divine what are merely human laws. 

Affections: (When one touches your heart, use your own words.)

  • Jesus, you are the center of my devotion. My eyes are always upon you. 
  • O Jesus, wash my heart, not just my hands. 
  • Teach me your ways, O Jesus, and I will follow. 
  • I will follow you, Jesus. You will get me to heaven. 
  • Let my heart remain simple and my piety centered on you. 
  • Jesus all of your commands are in my heart. 

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.