This weekend we celebrate the Twenty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time. We return to the Gospel of Mark. In today’s passage, it appears that the disciples are paying no attention to some of the laws connected with meals that all Jewish people are to keep. So, the Pharisees and some of the Scribes complain to Jesus about it. Jesus has great respect for the law but he has even greater respect for integrity in the way in which people live their lives. Jesus points out to them the difference between those who honor God’s commandments and those who don’t. Jesus says, “Hear me, all of you, and understand. Nothing that enters one from outside can defile that person; but the things that come out from within are what defile.” Jesus doesn’t walkaway from confrontation but responds by getting to the heart of the matter (the motive behind the complaint). Jesus takes issue with the attitude of those who keep the law for show and not from sincerity of heart. As Christians, we do not have all kinds of laws and rituals to keep but we have a spiritual life that includes prayers of various kinds, sacraments, visible postures, gestures, and actions. When we celebrate sacraments, pray, use gestures, or reach out to others with a pure heart, we express our true desire to please the Lord and others. In other words, we are being authentic: our actions reflect what is within our hearts. This week, as we continue to reflect upon this Gospel passage, let us ask ourselves the following question: What practice or ritual of my faith do I find most meaningful to me, that inspires me in living my faith, that makes me most aware and appreciative of God’s presence in my life?
In two weeks, we will have our annual Mission Appeal. Sister Donna Gunn, CSJ from Saint Louis, Missouri will be visiting our parish on Saturday, September 15 and Sunday, September 16. She will be speaking about the Mission work of the Congregation of the Sisters of Saint Joseph. I will be placing Mission contribution envelopes in the pews next weekend so that if you would like to come prepared for the special second collection that following weekend, you may do so. Checks should be made out to Saint John Paul II Parish with “mission appeal” written on the memo line. The Parish sends one check to the diocese a couple of weeks following the mission appeal and the diocese sends the total to the CSJ Community.
Blessings on your week!
Sister Chris Gretka, CSJ