“The one who does justice will live in the presence of the Lord.”
Deuteronomy 4:1-2, 6-8
James 1:17-18, 21b-22, 27
Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23
by Sister Judith Bloxham, OSB
As Moses speaks to the people of the Exodus of the importance of what he is teaching them, he adds that they are not to add or subtract from his teaching of how they are to observe the commandments of the Lord, the God of their ancestors. The people’s observance of these commandments is a form of their eventual ministry to all peoples. It will speak of the wisdom that invites others to also be people who live out of the reality of God’s closeness to them when they call upon Him in their need, and in their love.
In the Letter of Saint James, he addresses the people as “dearest brothers and sisters” and reminds them that it is God, the “Father of lights”, who wills to give each of us a new birth in truth. This is a birth in the Word of God which has been planted in each of us. We are being called to live out this Word in our daily lives through our prayer, and especially, in our actions and our behavior with each other. And, this also calls us to prayer and action that will benefit the whole world. One of the ways we do this involves our responsibility for our entire world regarding climate change.
In the Gospel for today, Jesus finds himself in a situation when he needs to berate the Pharisees and scribes for their over-emphasis on all external actions for themselves while neglecting to honor God’s greatest commandment. We need to all be reminded of God’s greatest commandment. We are called to love God with our whole hearts, our whole selves; and to love our neighbors as ourselves. How may we each individually live out this commandment in our daily lives?
From the Rule of St. Benedict
“They should each try to be the first to show respect for one another, supporting with the greatest patience one another’s weaknesses of body and behavior, and earnestly competing in obedience to one another.” “Let them prefer nothing whatever to the love of Christ, and may he bring us all together to everlasting life.” Chapter 72:4-6, 11
“The Father willed to give us birth by the word of truth that we may be a kind of first fruits of his creatures.” James 1:18