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CONCERNING RELIGIOUS FORMALISM

Read­ing Time: 2 minutes

Introduction

This Sunday Gos­pel read­ing is taken from the Gos­pel accord­ing to John. This Gos­pel will accom­pany us until the 21st Sunday of the year. This means and implies the Gos­pel accord­ing to Mark, the cur­rent Gos­pel for the Litur­gic­al Year (B) will be inter­rup­ted, to be taken up again from the 22nd Sunday of the year. The reas­on is that although Mark (6:35–44) con­tains the same epis­ode as in John 6:1–15, the entire chapter six of John dwells on the body and blood of Jesus which impli­citly, rep­res­ents the Holy Euchar­ist (Com­mu­nion). This is why the Church has decided to base her Gos­pel read­ings and les­sons for these Sundays on John chapter six. The Church could not have ignored such rich present­a­tion, explan­a­tion and applic­a­tion of Jesus as the “bread of life.” To read the epis­ode of John 6:1–15 in oth­er Gospels.….…

Avoiding religious formalism

Then he summoned the crowd again and said to them, listen to me, all of you, and under­stand: There is noth­ing out­side a per­son that by going into the per­son can defile that per­son, but the things that come out of a per­son are what defile the per­son” (Mark 7:14–15). Often, we have dis­tor­ted con­cep­tion of spir­itu­al­ity, faith and holi­ness. Some people think it is by avoid­ing cer­tain foods, drinks, cer­tain modes of dress­ing and some attires that make them holy and pleas­ing to God. Like the Phar­isees, they think end­less and empty fast­ing make them holy and without sin. These people deceive them­selves. They are only inter­ested in impress­ing people and being praised by oth­ers. They are vic­tims of reli­gious exter­n­al­ism. They have no faith in God. After invit­ing the Phar­isees and the Scribes to go bey­ond the let­ters of the law, Jesus went on and dis­tin­guished between mater­i­al and spir­itu­al pur­ity. Wash­ing the hands and any oth­er thing wash­able only makes a per­son phys­ic­ally clean. How­ever, this does not mean people should be untidy. After all, it is said that clean­li­ness is next to god­li­ness. The prob­lem is not being neat. The prob­lem is tak­ing phys­ic­al neat­ness as a sign of spir­itu­al­ity and holi­ness. If our phys­ic­al neat­ness is not a reflec­tion of our spir­itu­al neat­ness, then, it is hypo­crisy and mean­ing­less. Jesus taught the Jew­ish author­ity and Chris­ti­ans how to dis­tin­guish between true and false spirituality.

Conclusion  

The Gos­pel of the 22nd Sunday of Ordin­ary Time (Cycle B) describes the reli­gious cus­toms of Jesus’ time, speaks of the Phar­isees who taught the people these prac­tices and cus­toms and of Jesus’ teach­ing con­cern­ing this mat­ter. Many of these prac­tices and cus­toms had lost their mean­ing and made peoples’ lives dif­fi­cult. The Phar­isees saw sin in everything and threatened with pun­ish­ment in hell. For instance, to eat without wash­ing one’s hands was con­sidered a sin. But these prac­tices and cus­toms con­tin­ued to be passed down and taught from fear or from super­sti­tion. They were more inter­ested in dis­crim­in­a­tion and extern­al ges­tures like wash­ing of hands when they return from mar­ket places and.…..

FOR DETAILS, GET YOUR OWN COPIES OF THE BOOKTHE WORD OF LIFE: SUNDAY REFLECTIONS” (vols. I and II)!! The reflec­tion for the 22nd Sunday of the year (B) is found in vol. II pages 373–388. Happy reading!

For details on how to get it, con­tact the author on this link: https://m.me/uchennabiblia?fbclid=IwAR2yeg4a6sDGBp9QGkIvKj6FSADumMokN6lshdE0zuo-JHs6qOmlhA7jyHo or email me at: postmaster@uchennabiblia.com or simply send an SMS on 08116100926, and I will get back to you.

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