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Twenty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time
1st Reading: Deuteronomy 4:12, 68 Resp.: Psalm 15:23, 34, 45 (1a)
2nd Reading: James 1:1718, 21b22, 27 Gospel: Mark 7:18, 1415, 2123
Too many times we can be concerned with what we and other people see. In today's readings God is letting us know that what is on the inside is most important. As a people, we face a crisis in being. For instance when you take a plane trip and have a conversation with the person sitting next to you, are you asked who you are or what do you do? Many people tend to think that what we do, what we say, what we wear, and what we look like defines who we are when it is really the other way around. The old saying never judge a book by its cover is certainly apropos.
The Pharisees wanted to know why the disciples didn't wash their hands. Jesus calls the Pharisees hypocrites. They are only concerned with appearances —doing things for show, not out of love for God.
What defiles us is not what happens to us but what we freely choose, that is, what comes out of the heart. Similarly when we choose the right thing according to God's Will, we are blessed. In order to sin I have to be able to make a choice. Sin is in the choosing.
As the reading from St James says, be doers of the word not just hearers. Unfortunately, the easiest person to fool us is ourselves. This is why we need each other and of course God in our lives.
May God help us to know what we are doing. May we be filled with the Holy Spirit to know and to do the right thing despite how it looks.
Written by Fr. Jim Curiel, OCD