22nd Sunday Of Ordinary Time
Here we are at the twenty-second Sunday in ordinary time at the beginning of September, doesn’t time fly! Some of our local schools here in Belfast have returned and began the new school year during the past week and the rest restart tomorrow. The old saying that time waits for no man rings true for me as I simply don’t know where the past two months have gone, perhaps I am getting old. That said of course I am getting older but the great consolation is that each of us one and all are getting older. I am reminded by the commentaries that I have about on this Gospel reading of my mother telling all of when we were growing up us to go up to the bathroom and wash our hands before we had our dinner. Indeed I see my brother and his partner telling their children the same thing when they are here in our house and of course it is the right thing to do.
In this Sundays Gospel We hear about the Pharisees and the scribes who know both the original laws of Moses and those laws added to by the “elders” or rabbis down through the centuries, they question Jesus about His disciples’ not observing exactly the traditions especially in their preparation for the feast. The Pharisees have the evidence of the non-conformity of the disciples and so there is a certain amount of tension and there is also a teaching moment. The issue is far more important than a detail of ritual observance. Those who were leaders in Israel should have been helping the people to live according to the ways of God – so that they would be ‘a light to the nations’, as the prophets had taught. Instead they had lost sight of Israel’s great destiny, and worked against it, in fact, by elaborating a system of self-serving regulations. Jesus shows himself a true interpreter of Israel’s faith as he urges his followers to find integrity through the motives of the heart rather than in the observance of external rituals of purification. No wonder the people followed him so eagerly. Our Response to the Psalm for today expresses the message of the liturgy’s readings: ‘The just will live in the presence of the Lord’.
As the Sermon on the Mount (Mt chapters 5 and 6) teaches us, we are truly the People of God if our life together gives expression to the ways of our Father in heaven. We have to be open to God and the road he is asking us to take which in these present days is a rocky road with loads of pot holes. Many people ask themselves what road is God asking them to take and the simple answer is that all of us are asked to keep on the road of the faith and that road will never be an easy one especially if our life of faith gives expression to the ways of our Father in heaven.
Let us offer ourselves and our prayers to the Lord in order to manifest his Glory in all of our lives and living in body, mind and Spirit. Let us cast our eyes towards Mary, the Mother of Jesus! Let us ask her to help us keep the faith as we travel along the roads of life which often times are rocky with many distractions. Let us remember that nothing is impossible for God and he does not let us down! Nothing is impossible with prayer and in particular the help of Mary’s prayer!