August 5, 2008
Tuesday of the eighteenth week in Ordinary Time
Matthew 15:1-2, 10-14
Pharisees and scribes came to Jesus from Jerusalem and said, "Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? They do not wash (their) hands when they eat a meal." He summoned the crowd and said to them, "Hear and understand. It is not what enters one's mouth that defiles that person; but what comes out of the mouth is what defiles one." Then his disciples approached and said to him, "Do you know that the Pharisees took offense when they heard what you said?" He said in reply, "Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be uprooted. Let them alone; they are blind guides (of the blind). If a blind person leads a blind person, both will fall into a pit."
Introductory Prayer: Lord, give me knowledge of your ways so that I can love the path you have drawn out for me and have hope in every step along its way. I humble myself before you, because you continually show me that your ways are not our ways. I thank you, for in recognizing your goodness to me, I find true happiness.
Petition: Lord Jesus, teach me your ways.
1. Tradition and Traditions Christ is telling us about the essentials. The Pharisees had amassed a great number of traditions. Many of these were made in good faith and helped people progress in virtue. However, over time, they replaced a loving relationship with mere rituals. Let us get back to what is essential in our life with Christ. Do I give more importance to my customs and likes, rather than to what Christ asks of me through his Church? Am I missing the mark by putting more focus on the means to the end, rather than on the end itself – Christ?
2. The Interior Man What comes out of a man’s mouth shows who he is; it shows what he values in his heart. Either we will hear words permeated with God’s love, or we will hear all types of vile and foul speech. We will see if a man is self-centered or centered on the needs of others. We will find out who sees himself as an instrument of God and who uses God as an instrument for his own success. What is inside of man always comes out in his speech.
3. True Leadership Man should follow God’s wisdom. A person filled with wisdom knows how best to help another person attain his goal: unity with Christ. There are many types of plants (people) out there; we must follow those which have been sown with the wisdom of God. We need help discerning which plants come from our Lord. We can recognize them by their fruits, but we may still need a spiritual director to help us discern the movements of our own soul, so that we don’t fall into the blind man’s pit.
Conversation with Christ: Lord Jesus, we live in a confusing world where people call the bad, “good,” and the good, “bad”. Help me to correctly discern so that I will always have your peace in my heart.
Resolution: I will make a visit to our Lord in the Eucharist and ask for the gift of wisdom.
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