St. Paul Miki and Companions

St. Paul Miki and Companions, Martyrs
I Kings 8:22-23,27-30  +  Mark 7:1-13
February 6, 2018

“You disregard God’s commandment and cling to human tradition.”

In today’s Gospel passage, the Pharisees are a thorn in the side of Jesus.  They are constantly quoting the Law to Him, and telling Him why He is not a good Jew.  In fact, however, these Pharisees are willing to sacrifice small things in order to say that they have a relationship with God.  Jesus, on the other hand, showed at the end of His life that He was truly faithful to the relationship—the covenant—between God and man, by dying on the Cross.  Through the offering of His life, Christ restored that relationship between God and man.

It is in our relationship with God that He lives in our lives.  Relationships are what the spiritual life is about.  This is what the sacrifice of Christ on the Cross teaches us, and this is what Christ’s words in today’s Gospel passage are trying to teach us.  In today’s Gospel passage Jesus sums up His protest against the Pharisees by saying, “You disregard God’s commandment and cling to human tradition.”  Jesus does not speak of “God’s commandments,” in the plural, as in the Ten Commandments of Moses.  Jesus speaks of “God’s commandment” in the singular.  There is only one commandment, which Jesus tells us elsewhere in the Gospel is “to love the Lord, your God, with your whole heart, whole mind, whole, soul, and all your strength.”  If we truly love God in this way, that love will overflow back into our lives—since God keeps nothing for Himself—and we will naturally love our neighbor as ourselves.