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February 08, 2022

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DG BookGospel: Mark 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
commandments of God in order to enforce your own traditions! 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 require
him to do anything for his father or mother; and so you nullify the word of God through the tradition you have handed on. And you do
many other things like that.”




Mark opens the episode of the day with a curious observation:
“Some teachers of the law had just come from Jerusalem.” This
could mean that those teachers would have, in all probability,
visited the Temple in Jerusalem. Even if they hadn’t, they had
surely come from a place where God’s presence was acutely
felt as an everyday presence. Yet, sadly, it looks like their visit
to God’s eternal city had only sharpened their divisive and
accusing sense of the law, instead of softening their heart with
love! They could only find fault with everything Jesus and his
disciples were doing. This begs the question: What kind of God
do we encounter and take after from our visits to our churches
and holy places? Do we come from “Jerusalem” with a divisive
and condemning heart or with a heart that beats with greater
compassion and Christ-likeness?


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