Saturday, August 29, 2009


Since the time Adam and Eve committed their first grave sin, the human heart has remained exposed to the devastation of violent passions which lead to acts that destroy individuals and societies.

In the Commandments, God has supplied us with a powerful defense line that protects us from the violence of these destructive passions and enables us to live a life of harmony, cooperation and fulfillment. Our task is to take God’s commandments seriously and make them the foundation of our moral life.

In this Eucharistic celebration, let us pray in a special manner for the grace to appreciate God’s Law and to live by it not only as individuals but also as a community and as a nation.

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.

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, such as the purification of cups and jugs and kettles and beds.

So the Pharisees and scribes questioned Jesus, “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.”

Jesus 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.”