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Acting On the Word...

     Friday night, as I sat in bed watching T.V I heard the talk show host, explain that rules give us freedom. I had no idea what they were actually talking about, but by the time I got settled into bed, and paid attention to the lady on the Catholic channel, I had become fixed on this intriguing idea presented. Obviously, I had zoned out of the rest of her conversation, and when I had come to accept the idea, the host was saying good bye. As I woke up the next morning, again the thought-provoking idea repaid a welcomed visit and it became the focus of my thought for majority of the day.

     From the time of Moses to the the time of Jesus, their were more than 600 rules made by the Pharisees and scribes.  Most of them were conceived throughout history, personal desires by those in power, and over developments of certain laws. Very few (in proportion to the 600+) had originated from the time of Moses which are written in the pentateuch. By the time of Jesus, it was almost impossible to keep and follow every single law. That is why pharisees had asked Jesus in Mark 12:28 " Which is the greatest commandment?" There were so many to follow, that is was easier to summarize the law into a couple.  Jesus' response is to love God with all our heart, soul, mind and body, and to love our neighbour.
     In todays Gospel, however, the Pharisees are after Jesus again catching him breaking one of their 600 laws. (The discourse that explains the law was added by the author to explain the law to the gentile readers.) Jesus responds to their exaggeration by pointing out to them the fault in their logic and rules. Jesus, quoting from the prophet Isaiah (which the Pharisees are well scripted in) says that the human formed commands have distracted and taken people away from the important commandments of God. The quote from Isaiah, provokes anyone who lives a double life- that says one thing, but does another. Jesus is teaching that it is the commandments, the live giving words, from God, that are important- not the stressed and enforced rules of eating with defiled hands.

    Jesus then makes a clear and strong statement, " Nothing outside a person that by going in can defile him."  ( Mk 7:15) Jesus passes the dietary law, and states that it is the inside of the person that can make him/her defiled- not what is consumed. He warns people of what the pharisees were doing: saying one thing, (and making it a law) while doing another. Jesus stops the corruptness and warns us to watch our selves for "evil intentions." 

     The second reading today contrasts the quote that Jesus says from Isaiah. Paul calls us to " be doers of the word, and not merely hearers who deceive themselves" (James 1:22) St Pauls calls to not only hear and create a false annotation to Christs word, but to act on it. The word, the law, that Christ sets forth for us, in its very nature, requires action. It is necessary in our life to live the Gospel- to be an example of the Joy of the Gospel.

    Today, Christ is calling us to look at ourselves. He calls us to look deeply at our centre, is there anything that stops us from sharing the joy of the Gospel? He is calling us follow him- the living words. The words that give life, healing and refreshment. He is calling us to concentrate on the one and true word-himself.  He is calling us to discover in our life anything that is blocking us from recieving the words of eternal life. To erase from ourselves the commandments that hold more importance than the commandments of God. According to Moses, when these commandments are followed, God is happy.

    Honour is given to God through our actions- not through extreme observances of laws that separate us from the commandments of God. God wants to give us freedom. A freedom that helps us enjoy life to it's fullest. A freedom that leads us to happiness, and celebration. A freedom that brings us closer to him, through obedience to his commandments. A freedom that comes from rules.

Have a Good Sunday!


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