Proclaim the Gospel to Every Creature
(Mark 16: 15)
Let us remember God’s Teaching, contained in His Word and
They Worship Me In Vain
Ordinary 22 Year B St. Mark 7: 1 — 8; 14 — 15; and 21 — 23
1. As non-Christian culture emerges more strongly around us (in countries which were largely Christian) we will need to put things in place: rules, customs, reminders, etc. to help us prevent being assimilated into the prevailing culture and its atheistic mindset. The ancient Jews were commanded by God to do this. They went further ― with the best of intentions ― and added more and more features to differentiate themselves from others. The problem they met, in doing so, was what others, including Christians, have experienced: you can become obsessed with being different and focussing principally on that instead of the original purpose for the rules.
As a religion, Christians have tended to criticise Judaism heavily in this whole matter, largely as a result of misinterpreting the Gospel passages where it appears. In truth, however, we have slipped into similar practices ― all very human ― but let’s take care not to be ‘one-eyed’ about it.
2. Our Lord, in typical rabbinic style, declares to His disciples words to the effect: it is not what goes into a person’s mouth that pollutes, harms, destroys ― it’s what comes out of a person’s mouth that matters. He even extended the thought to include everything unbecoming of His followers which originated within themselves.
Of course the way Jesus presented it, we are all guilty to some extent. It is therefore inappropriate for us to condemn others, and their motives, whilst we, ourselves, fail to meet His standards.
3. Jesus was fairly down-to-earth when it came to the enjoyment of good food and wine etc. If there is a problem with this, it rests with the person who eats or drinks too much ― not with the things enjoyed. In other words we need to take responsibility for being mature and sensible and not “pass-the-buck” by condemning the gifts of God instead of confessing our weaknesses.