Honoring God with All of Us

Honoring God with All of Us

Today we hear some hard words from Jesus, He lashes out at the Scribes and Pharisees for honoring God with their lips when their hearts were far from God. Once again, we are getting ready to condemn the Pharisees. These wretched people! Why don’t they listen to Jesus?   They seem so full of themselves!

They deserve to get a tongue-lashing from Jesus!  We sound like the well-meaning parishioner telling the pastor, “Good sermon, Pastor! That really told ‘em!   That is just what they needed to hear! And all the while our Lord compassionately shakes His head, knowing that every last one of the people criticizing need to look at their own sin in the mirror of the law and thus receive the truth of the Gospel!

And what about us? 

It is not just the Pharisees who have honored God with their lips and had their hearts far from Him. You and I can fall into the same trap!  We show up in the morning for prayer with our bodies- but our minds and hearts may be elsewhere.  Distractions!  Worries and problems of the day that we must solve and deal with.

Fatigue!  Health issue!  And a zillion other things that pop into our consciousness.  When Jesus tells a story there is always a lesson for us to learn.  In Isaiah’s Prophesy about hypocrites we read: “The people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from Me.”

As we listen to this Gospel we are reminded as we gather to pray in chapel to pray with our hearts as well as our lips. Our Gospel goes on to say the scribes and Pharisees disregard God’s commandments but they cling to the human traditions. Now some traditions are good to follow and some really do not make sense. We are encouraged to look at our traditions and become aware of why we do them.  There is a story of a couple who had married and the husband noticed that when the wife fixed a ham she always cut off the ends of the ham. Out of curiosity, he asked her why she did that and she responded that she did it because her Mother always did it. He told her to ask her Mother what the reason for that tradition was and the Mother smiled and said: “I cut the ends off so the ham would fit in the pan!”

A tradition means we hand down something from one generation to another. Our Gospel reminds us that traditions must always follow “truth” and never replace the “law of God”.  The Pharisees multiplied religious laws and rituals to such an extent that it was impossible to know them all, let alone to observe them. Jesus accuses them of putting petty regulations above the law of God, the law of love and compassion. 

One of the traditions the scribes and Pharisees had created was to set aside money for the temple. This money was called the “corban”- money dedicated to the temple. If their parents needed the money they were not allowed to use any of the corban which was dedicated to the temple.  God’s commandment and law is to “Honor your Father and Mother” and take care of them. So, the scribes and Pharisees nullify this law by not using the corban for parents they are making a wrong choice.

Reflecting on the Gospel message today I  believe Jesus is asking us to remember three things:

  1. To remember not to let our traditions replace God’s Law.
  2. To remember to pray with our hearts as well as our lips.
  3. To remember to look into the mirror and see our own sin before we notice the sin in another.

The Pharisees were inclined to be judgmental and censorious at times.

May God gift us / with the grace to hear the message which He gives us in the Gospel of today!

Comments (0)

Add a Comment

Allowed tags: <b><i><br>Add a new comment: