Life on the Chrism Trail

Homily for the Twenty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time

August 29, 2021
Installation of Reverend Pedro Martinez as Pastor
St. Peter the Apostle Parish
Fort Worth, Texas

Deuteronomy  4:1-2, 6-8
Psalm 15:2-3, 3-4, 4-5
James 1:17-18, 21b-22, 27
Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23

Some of the religious leaders of the Jews were frustrated and fearful of the way Jesus’ disciples seemed to ignore the prescribed rules and religious rituals of cleanliness before meals. The Pharisees were well known for carefully observing the rules down to minute details. Their way of reverencing God and cherishing the Law prompted them to make sure that all prescriptions were scrupulously observed. Yet, this same rigorous attention to detail frequently led them into developing rules that permitted exceptions to rules. Thus, at times, the rules became more important than God and the Covenant that God formed with the Jews with Moses. Jesus’ correction of them is direct and abrupt, “This people honors me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines human precepts. You disregard God’s commandment but cling to human tradition.” Jesus then commands His audience, which includes us, to listen and learn.

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