Tuesday 6 February 2024
Ss Paul Miki and companions
1 Kings 8:22–23, 27–30. How lovely is your dwelling-place, Lord, mighty God – Psalm 83(84):3–5, 10–11. Mark 7:1–13.
May we avoid mistaking shadow for substance
When the Pharisees confront Jesus about the seemingly mundane matter of his disciples eating without first ritually washing their hands, their deeper intention is not to understand Jesus but to find fault with him. This seems to set Jesus off. Rather than directly defending his disciples, Jesus redirects the conversation with the precision and sharpness of a seasoned courtroom lawyer. He pointedly addresses the Pharisees’ own inconsistencies and hypocrisy in a fusillade that, all these years later, still seems quietly devastating. What begins as a nit-picky question about simple hand-washing evolves into a profound discourse on our tendency to mistakenly prioritise human traditions over a genuine, internal commitment to God’s truth. May we avoid mistaking shadow for substance and remember that it’s not the rituals that define our faith but our heart’s true intention and alignment with God’s purpose.