The Tradition of the Elders



Reflection on the Gospel of Twenty-Second Sunday In Ordinary Time

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


An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, redeem your sins by paying with sacrifices, do not work on a Sabbath Day for you are committing a sinful act, consuming pork is unclean and so on and so forth… there’s just too much to type and recollect about Jewish pharisaic Traditions that seem to be an arithmetic equation to balance out spiritual purity and sinful impurity. These traditions were often manipulated to justify oneself as righteous or burden the conscience of the faithful. 

Jesus specifically calls out the hypocrisy of one such tradition. A Jewish individual has a duty to support his parents including financial aid especially in their old age. It was an honourable deed for a son or daughter to do so but the Lord God is more honourable compared to one’s parents. Therefore, using that same arithmetic logic, a Jewish individual could virtually forfeit his responsibilities towards his parents by donating the financial amount to God (Temple) instead of his parents. This act was part of the Jewish tradition of Corban. It was human traditions like these that manipulated the Word of God according to personal preferences.

Jesus asks us to reflect on our understanding of his friendship by searching deeply into our hearts.  It is not about measuring the good that we do or the bad, it is about changing our perspective. We need to look at everything the way God wants us to look at things. To discern and understand the ways of God will require knowing God more intimately. It will require a change of heart, working on the root cause of sin (Sin – A revolt against God) which is exhibited in our actions. The inward journey is challenging and is in need of cleansing. A clean heart will calibrate our intentions and actions with the divine. Every other outward effort will just be superficial.