• Wartakanlah Injil kepada segala makhluk.
    Mrk 16:15

  • 你们往普天下去, 向一切受造物宣传福音
    谷 16:15

  • Everything is possible by the power of the Holy Spirit’s Grace.
    St Arnold Janssen

  • Segala sesuatu menjadi mungkin dalam kekuatan karunia Roh Kudus.
    St. Arnold Janssen

  • 我当传教士不是为主牺牲,而是上主给我的最大恩赐

  • Với sức mạnh Ân Huệ của Chúa Thánh Thần, Mọi việc đều có thể được.
    St Arnoldus Janssen

  • Preach the Gospel to the whole creation./Anh em hãy đi khắp tứ phương thiên hạ, loan báo Tin Mừng cho mọi loài thọ tạo
    Mk 16:15

  • There are many different gifts, but it is always the same Spirit.
    1 Cor 12:4

  • And the Word became flesh and lived among us.
    Jn 1:14

  • Let the word of Christ, in all its richness, find a home with you.
    Col 3:16

  • To proclaim the Good News is the first and greatest act of love of neighbour.
    St Arnold Janssen

  • 传扬天国福音是第一且最大的爱近人行动

  • Có nhiều đặc sủng khác nhau, nhưng chỉ có một Thần Khí/
    1 Cor. 14:4

  • 圣言成了血肉,寄居在我们中间
    若 1:14

  • Ada rupa-rupa karunia, tetapi Roh satu
    1 Kor 12:4

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Saturday, 01 September 2018 10:32

22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time - Year B - 2018

Written by Fr Elmer Ibarra SVD


22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

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

Fr Elmer Ibarra 150 BestThere was an old woman who was very conscious about observing the “one-hour fast” before receiving communion. She went to Mass one Sunday noting the time she finished breakfast, which was shortly before she left the house. Upon arriving at the church, which was a very short distance away from her house, she was there just on time when they started the opening song. Oddly, the priest preached a relatively short homily for that Sunday. After the homily she was looking at the time. Then when communion time started and people were already queuing to receive communion, she looked at her watch and it was still a good five minutes before completing the hour fast. She decided to be the last one to receive communion. When she was already in front of the priest to receive communion she stopped and she was still looking at her watch because there were still 20 seconds left. 

This story may sound ridiculous but this is what Jesus is criticising the Pharisees who came from Jerusalem to see Jesus and his followers. They were shocked to see that Jesus’ disciples ate without washing their hands. For us who are living in the 21st century, we might see this as a very logical observation. Isn’t it just what our parents taught us at an early age the value of hygiene, meaning we should wash our hands before eating. However, we should understand the context of this gospel and the phrase “Pharisees from Jerusalem” might give us a clue. The Pharisees from Jerusalem do and want everyone to imitate the “Grand Tradition” before eating. Now, this doesn’t only consist of just washing the hands but a set of elaborate and complex rituals that accompany with washing of hands before eating. Now for people in the countryside who are in the hurry because of the work that they have to do in the farm and also because of the limited water supply, they have adapted this “Grand Tradition” to do a “Little Tradition” so that they would still comply to the minimum requirements of blessing the food before eating. And because of this, the Pharisees from Jerusalem fail to see the adaptation and were shocked and criticised this practice. Jesus on the other hand labelled the Pharisees and the scribes as a bunch of hypocrites as they concentrated on the rituals which are merely human tradition and disregard the more important doctrines of following God’s commandments of loving God and neighbour. 

There was a Divine Word missionary working in the remote mountains in the Philippines. I got to talk to him once and he admitted that there are mission stations in the mountains that he can only visit once a year because of its remoteness. He said that whenever he visit this remote village, he would celebrate the Easter Sunday mass even if it is July. His justification is that he can only celebrate mass there once a year so why not celebrate the most important celebration of them all and that is the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. 

Are we also putting too much emphasis on rites and rituals when we go to Mass and miss the most important things of them all and that is the listening of God’s Word and the consummation of his body and blood? Sometimes, we tend to forget what is truly important. Hopefully, the gospel for today may make us go back to the right track. 
There was this story of a penitent whose sin was spreading gossip. She went to the priest for the Sacrament of Reconciliation. The priest said that for her penance, she should go to the rooftop of the parish building with a bag of feathers. Then she should let go of all the feathers with the wind. Then after emptying her bag of feathers, she should pick them all up one by one. She complained to the priest saying that it is impossible to pick them up because they have gone so far away already. The priest said to her, “The same applies with gossip. If you spread them already it is impossible to take it back.”

The gospel for today continues with eating. Jesus emphasising that it is not what we comes into our mouths that makes us evil but what comes out of it. During the time of Christ, Jews have a lot of dietary laws. Jews believed that if they eat these unclean food, they would become unclean themselves. But Jesus emphasised that it is not what we eat that makes us evil. It is what comes out from within that makes us evil. We all have evil thoughts like envy, jealousy, malice, etc. and when these things are acted out through gossip, swearing, false accusation, adultery, murder, blasphemy, arrogance, etc. These are the ones that makes us evil. 

The second point of the gospel today makes us check our hearts. Are they on the right place? This is particularly applicable during the Lenten season. It is so easy to fast and abstain from meat but do we bother to visit our relatives in a nursing home that we haven’t seen for a long time? Or do we bother to say sorry to a former friend that we haven’t talked for years because of a misunderstanding? Or do we bother to be more understanding to our husband who is suffering from dementia? 

The gospel for today reminds us to check our heart regularly, not whether it is beating or not but whether it is in accordance with the heart of Christ. And hopefully, if we have a pure heart, then our actions would show kindness, patience and understanding.

Last modified on Saturday, 01 September 2018 10:46

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