Sunday, August 30

22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

Deuteronomy 4.1-8 Psalm 15  |  James 1.17-27Mark 7.1-23

traditionTraditions are an important part of keeping the continuity between many generations whether of a particular family, a community or even of an entire nation. Many traditions arise out of a particular historical event which is important enough to be remembered and handed on. As many generations pass the event itself may sometimes be forgotten in its detail but the tradition serves as the focus for our collective memories. It gives us something to unite and identify ourselves with.

In the first reading the people receive the law of God that will serve as the foundation of the covenant between God and the Israelites. This law will be handed down through the generations and it will be reflected upon and interpreted by scholars in the years that follow. It will become a defining tradition of the nation of Israel.

Not all our traditions however are worth hanging on to, especially when the foundation of the tradition becomes lost or loses its meaning. When I was a child I learned in my home to say thank you for supper in my parent’s native language of Danish, “Tak for mad”. It was a nice family tradition which, unfortunately, was both meaningless and embarrassing when I would use it at friend’s house when I was invited over for a meal.

In the Gospel Jesus reminds the Pharisees not to hold obscure rules and traditions over the heads of the people and make life difficult for them. He tells them to seek once again the foundation of God’s laws which are about God’s love for the people, not about putting burdens on their shoulders.

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