Join us as we reflect, ponder, and pray together inspired by today's Gospel.
Reflection by Ann Rock
Today's Gospel: Mark 7:1-13
After the year of the pandemic it seems more than odd that Jesus’ disciples aren’t observing the ritual purity laws set forth for the Jewish people. However, as we go on further, it becomes clear that this teaching is not about physical cleanliness nor adherence to esoteric rules.
Observing traditional (and even required) rituals, such as attending mass or saying the Rosary, is important. What I get from this text is that if you are doing these things with an impure heart, are you really enhancing your relationship with God? He knows our hearts and motivations. We may fool ourselves into the sort of magical thinking that if we observe one more novena we’ll have earned our way to heaven. Yet, what this scripture points out is that if you’re going through the ritual thinking only of your own gain or reputation, you are missing out on the true goal of the spiritual life: to love God with all your heart. Now, don’t get me wrong, the rituals of the Catholic Church are a beautiful part of our heritage. But the beauty is superficial if done without or in lieu of love.
So, what does that look like? Mark uses two powerful examples here:
“Well did Isaiah prophesy about you hypocrites, as it is written:
This people honors me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me."
The classic, all talk and no action. For the second example Mark recounts:
"For Moses said,
Honor your father and your mother,
and Whoever curses father or mother shall die.
Yet you say,
‘If someone says to father or mother,
“Any support you might have had from me is qorban”’
(meaning, dedicated to God)..."
So someone is apparently saying they can’t help their parents, because the resources to do so have been dedicated to God. That doesn’t even make any sense to me. Isn’t honoring your mother and father one of the Ten Commandments?
What I’m hearing is it’s not what you do but the motivation in your heart. You can say all day how much you love God but if you’re not actively loving and honoring His creation you’re falling short.
So, this should be good news for us mothers (and really, everyone). What matters is more the love in your heart than what you’re actually doing. Acting with self-sacrificing love, as Jesus did, is what will help us grow in holiness. Whether you have young children, are in the sandwich generation, or have raised your family when you live your life in love as Jesus did, you are doing God’s will if you are striving to love Him every day.
In what areas am I observing Catholic practices in a ritualistic way without love?
Dear Lord, please grant me the grace to do all things with love of You in my heart.
Copyright 2021 Ann Rock
Ann Rock is the mother of a grown son, and wife of 34 years. She enjoys facilitating Bible studies and working on mother’s retreats.
About the Author
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