August 30 - Twenty Second Sunday in Ordinary Time: why we do what we do?

August 26th, 2015

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First Reading  Deuteronomy 4:1-2,6-8
Moses tells the Israelites to observe the commandments that God gave them.

Responsorial Psalm  Psalm 15:2-3,3-4,4-5
Those who do justice will find favor with God.

Second Reading  James 1:17-18,21b-22,27
James teaches that Christians should be doers of the Word.

Gospel Reading
Mark 7:1-8,14-15,21-23

For the Jews Religious was slowly degenerating into an activity of performing external rituals. Which is to say that external rituals (like washing hands before meals) was becoming identified with being religious and serving God. Therefore Jesus in today’s Gospel warns against identifying religion with performing external acts. The point is this: we can do all religious acts but for the wrong reason. That is we can perform all religious rituals but without love and mercy. What counts is not what we do. What counts is the love in our heart that motivates us to do what we do. If our heart is filled with bitterness or pride or jealousy, then all the external practices in the world won’t make us holy before God.  In short, what counts in religion is not what we do, but why we do it. What counts is the love in our hearts: love of God and love of neighbor.