Tuesday 5th Week of the Year.
How important it is to be “sincere” in our relationship with Jesus and others. Genuine love, especially sacrificial love always strengthens relationships.
If we were to go to the market looking for a statue
in Judea at the time of our Lord Jesus,
we would want one that was sincere or “without wax.”
A statue that was not broken
and fixed with wax was not “sincere.”
That’s what today’s gospel is all about,
being “sincere” in our relationship with God.
We can see how this was a priority for Jesus.
People would begin to lose
their sincerity in their faith
when they put duties and rules before
their love for God himself.
Rules and regulations are not wrong in themselves.
But over the centuries the scribes and Pharisees
began to interpret the Law of Moses.
They wanted to cover every situation they could come up against so that they would never come near to breaking one of the 10 Commandments.
They called this “oral tradition”, “Mishnah”
and it became more important
than what they received from Moses.
St. Mark in today’s Gospel points out the distinction
between the Mosaic Law
and what Jesus called “your traditions.”
In the case he mentioned,
when a parent grew old
and was unable to care for themselves,
according to “your tradition”
a child could lawfully withhold aid from the parent
stating his possessions were “dedicated to God.”
Respecting and honoring our parents,
God’s original intention, is lost.
We have the saying, “It was just a white lie,”
as if that gave us the excuse
to break the eighth commandment.
It’s more important to obey the law
so we sometimes make it out
to what we want that law to be,
namely in our favor.
That is what is behind our Lord’s statement,
“This people honors me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me.”
It would be healthy for all of our relationships,
to see if we’ve invented any laws for ourselves
so we can take shortcuts
to do as little as possible for someone
or just change things to suit us.
We can begin to see if we have any shortcuts with Jesus.
Let us ask the Lord to help us to be “sincere”
in our love for him and others.
Genuine love, especially sacrificial love
always strengthens relationships.