Twenty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time

Sunday September 2, 2018
Twenty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 125

A Reading from the Gospel according to Mark
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."

Salesian Sunday Reflection
Twenty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time

Today’s readings beg us to live the commandments, the word of God, in a way that allows us to be wise and have a pure heart before God. St. Francis de Sales speaks of God’s commandments in light of living and loving God’s will:

There are some matters in which it is clear what God’s will is, such as the commandments or the duties of one’s vocation. To live according to God’s will is to love. The just are not truly just unless they have holy love, which forms a pure heart.

True love always strives to please those in whom it has found pleasure. God’s word becomes most pleasing when ordained by love. By often taking delight in what God commands, we become what God desires us to be, and our will is transformed into that of the divine will. The greater the pleasure we take in God’s will for us, the more perfect is our transformation in holy love, the true source of divine wisdom. Happy the soul who no longer journeys with its own feet but according to the desire of its God!

To arouse in us a holy, salutary love of God’s commandments, we must contemplate their wondrous beauty. Like the visible sun that touches all things with its life-giving warmth, and gives them the vigor needed to produce their proper effects, so God’s goodness enlivens all hearts to love God’s word. To love the divine commandments, God gives us means that are not merely sufficient. Rather, God gives us a rich abundance of ways to fulfill this divine desire implanted in our hearts.

The commandments are worthy of love because they give goodness to those who lack it and increase goodness in those who have it. There is no toil in what we love, or if there is any, it is a beloved toil. Thus, while the divine law imposes a necessity to obey God’s will it also converts this necessity into holy love, and all difficulty into delight.

(Adapted from the writings of St. Francis de Sales.)