Mk7:1-8,14-15,21-23 [22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time]

2nd September, 2012 Readings: 22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

This week’s Gospel challenged me to take a closer look at my life and the way I live this gift God blesses me with everyday. The way we live our life is also a reflection of how much we have really allowed God to be a part of our life and today, God invites us to see this in our lives.

In this week’s gospel, Jesus challenged the Pharisees to take a closer look at their life and especially the things they do, like the traditions they try to upkeep and the rituals they partake in, and to really see if they do it for God or if they just follow the motions blindly. At first, when I read the gospel, I thought to myself “What is wrong with washing our hands before we eat? Washing up after returning for a dirty place? “

Then I read the gospel again and then this line struck me “Why do your disciples not live according to the tradition of the elders, but eat with hands defiled?” The Pharisees asked Jesus why His disciples don’t live according to the tradition of the elders. And then it hit me that the disciples have encountered Jesus in their lives and because of this encounter, their hearts, minds and souls were transformed and they could no longer live according to the tradition of the elders but only live according to the bread of life – Jesus.

To the many of you who are reading this reflection who have encountered Jesus in your life, I ask you to reflect if you are living your life according to Jesus or according the “elders” of today – society?

Next, Jesus says, “There is nothing outside a man which by going into him can defile him; but the things which come out of a man are what defile him. For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts…” This struck me quite a bit because many of us give excuses for our mistakes, and we do so by blaming the things or people around us. For example, a person chooses to smoke cigarettes, and we say that the cigarettes damage the lungs, but the actual fact is that the person makes a choice to smoke and because of that they incur the consequences which come with it. Basically, Jesus tells us very clearly that our choices from the gift of freewill he gives us can either be in accordance with His will or not.

As I took a deeper look in my life, I realized that there is so much more of my life that I need to live according to Jesus. While tt is true that my heart desires for him and I have encountered God before, there are also many times in my life where I have failed to choose to live according to this amazing God who loves me outrageously to die on the cross. As I end this post, I make this song’s chorus a prayer for me and for you .

“So give us clean hands
and give us pure hearts
Let us not lift our souls to another
Oh give us clean hands
and give us pure hearts
Let us not lift our souls to another
Oh God let this be
a generation that seeks
Who seeks Your face, Oh God of Jacob
Oh God let us be
a generation that seeks
Who seeks Your face, Oh God of Jacob”

Amen

– Greg

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