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RELIGION LITURGY AND LIFE

22ND SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

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Well here we are at the last weekend of  August and the youngsters are going back to school. Time is flying by for all of us both young and old as we move into the new school year. I’m sure at this stage everyone will be happy to get back to the daily routine of school and home life instead of the frenetic activity of the summer.

Our Gospel reading for this Sunday deals with tradition it also deals with the opposition to Jesus which came from the Pharisees and the temple officials as a result of his challenge to their version of tradition. When it comes to the subject of tradition, people’s attitudes can vary dramatically. Some people have an affectionate loyalty to traditional ways of doing things they often say we’ve always done that this way. They feel secure when they adapt their own values and behaviour to received wisdom, reassured by the knowledge that they are following in the footsteps of many others. Problems occur if laws themselves become more important than the people whose lives they are designed to serve and protect . According to the written Law, ceremonial washing was required only of priests before they entered the sanctuary. By the time of Jesus, however, the ritual of hand-washing, before every meal and between each course, had been extended to include all pious Jews.As we all know Jesus interpreted the Jewish Law in a different way and as a result of his interpretation he clashed with the Pharisees.  The Pharisees were mainly concerned with the externals of faith and didn’t understand the message of Jesus that faith comes from the heart. In our Gospel reading Jesus teaches a central truth: it is what comes from within that determines whether we are clean or unclean, good or evil not the washing of our hands.  In our secular world, so many couldn’t care less about ritual observance or conversion of heart. When things are going well, there seems to be no need for God, much less religious observance. Conversion of the heart means that we have discovered that all our goodness comes from the love of God for us. This leads to genuine prayer of praise and gratitude as well as a real yearning to share this gift with others.

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