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Twenty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time, Lectionary: 125

September 1, 2018

Reading 1 Dt 4:1-2, 6-8

Moses said to the people:
“Now, Israel, hear the statutes and decrees
which I am teaching you to observe,
that you may live, and may enter in and take possession of the land
which the LORD, the God of your fathers, is giving you.

In your observance of the commandments of the LORD, your God,
which I enjoin upon you,
you shall not add to what I command you nor subtract from it.
Observe them carefully,
for thus will you give evidence
of your wisdom and intelligence to the nations,
who will hear of all these statutes and say,
‘This great nation is truly a wise and intelligent people.’
For what great nation is there
that has gods so close to it as the LORD, our God, is to us
whenever we call upon him?
Or what great nation has statutes and decrees
that are as just as this whole law
which I am setting before you today?”

-Obedience is one of those virtues that we like most others to have.  It never seems to be quite so important for ourselves.

-In one of my favorite meditation books in entitled, “99 Annoying Attributes of God” and in it I just read, “God is annoying because he thinks delayed obedience is disobedience.”

Responsorial Psalm Ps 15:2-3, 3-4, 4-5

  1. (1a) The one who does justice will live in the presence of the Lord.
    Whoever walks blamelessly and does justice;
    who thinks the truth in his heart
    and slanders not with his tongue.
    R. The one who does justice will live in the presence of the Lord.
    Who harms not his fellow man,
    nor takes up a reproach against his neighbor;
    by whom the reprobate is despised,
    while he honors those who fear the LORD.
    R. The one who does justice will live in the presence of the Lord.
    Who lends not his money at usury
    and accepts no bribe against the innocent.
    Whoever does these things
    shall never be disturbed.
    R. The one who does justice will live in the presence of the Lord.

-Notice the DOING of justice, not the loving of it is what matters.

Reading 2 Jas 1:17-18, 21b-22, 27

Dearest brothers and sisters:
All good giving and every perfect gift is from above,
coming down from the Father of lights,
with whom there is no alteration or shadow caused by change.
He willed to give us birth by the word of truth
that we may be a kind of first fruits of his creatures.
Humbly welcome the word that has been planted in you
and is able to save your souls.
Be doers of the word and not hearers only, deluding yourselves.
Religion that is pure and undefiled before God and the Father is this:
to care for orphans and widows in their affliction
and to keep oneself unstained by the world.

There are some Bible passages that are difficult because the meaning is not easily grasped.  The difficulty with the Letter of James is that it is much too clear for those who prefer to “feel good” only.

-Worship and service are inseparable parts of true religion.

Alleluia Jas 1:18

  1. Alleluia, alleluia.
    The Father willed to give us birth by the word of truth
    that we may be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.
    R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Mk 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23

When the Pharisees with some scribes who had come from Jerusalem
gathered around Jesus,
they observed that some of his disciples ate their meals
with unclean, that is, unwashed, hands.
—For the Pharisees and, in fact, all Jews,
do not eat without carefully washing their hands,
keeping the tradition of the elders.
And on coming from the marketplace
they do not eat without purifying themselves.
And there are many other things that they have traditionally observed,
the purification of cups and jugs and kettles and beds. —
So the Pharisees and scribes questioned him,
“Why do your disciples not follow the tradition of the elders
but instead eat a meal with unclean hands?”
He responded,

“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;
in vain do they worship me,
teaching as doctrines human precepts.

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

He summoned the crowd again and said to them,
“Hear me, all of you, and understand.
Nothing that enters one from outside can defile that person;
but the things that come out from within are what defile.

“From within people, from their hearts,
come evil thoughts, unchastity, theft, murder,
adultery, greed, malice, deceit,
licentiousness, envy, blasphemy, arrogance, folly.
All these evils come from within and they defile.”

-Sometimes folks ask questions in order to learn something. This is not one of those times. The Pharisees are angry and critical, believing they already know better about most everything.

-From where does evil come?  These days we are asking that question about the Church quite a bit.  Jesus clarifies the matter quite well, perhaps too well for those who wish to point fingers away from themselves in blaming or criticizing or judging. 

-On the other hand, keeping the focus on others allows us an unwarranted break from dealing with our own selfishness and sin.

-In the Psalm that follows, it is important to remember that in the time before Christ, it was commonly believed that the only way to be rid of sin was to get rid of sinners.  For us the words “destroy them need no longer apply to the people but to the sin that is at work in them.

Let us pray!

Psalm 94

Lord, avenging God,

avenging God, shine forth!

Rise up, O judge of the earth;

give the proud what they deserve!

II

How long, Lord, shall the wicked,

how long shall the wicked glory?

How long will they mouth haughty speeches,

go on boasting, all these evildoers?

They crush your people, Lord,

torment your very own.

They kill the widow and alien;

the orphan they murder.

They say, “The Lord does not see;

the God of Jacob takes no notice.”

III

Understand, you stupid people!

You fools, when will you be wise?

Does the one who shaped the ear not hear?

The one who formed the eye not see?

Does the one who guides nations not rebuke?

The one who teaches man not have knowledge?

The Lord knows the plans of man;

they are like a fleeting breath.

IV

Blessed the one whom you guide, Lord

whom you teach by your instruction,

To give rest from evil days,

while a pit is being dug for the wicked.

14For the Lord will not forsake his people,

nor abandon his inheritance.

Judgment shall again be just,

and all the upright of heart will follow it.

V

Who will rise up for me against the wicked?

Who will stand up for me against evildoers?

If the Lord were not my help,

I would long have been silent in the grave.

When I say, “My foot is slipping,”

your mercy, Lord, holds me up.

When cares increase within me,

your comfort gives me joy.

VI

Can unjust judges be your allies,

those who create burdens by decree,

Those who conspire against the just

and condemn the innocent to death?

No, the Lord is my secure height,

my God, my rock of refuge,

Who will turn back their evil upon them

and destroy them for their wickedness.

Surely the Lord our God will destroy them!

 

Prosit,

Father John

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