Gospel: Mk 7:1-13
One day, the Pharisees gathered around Jesus, and with them were some teachers of the law who had just come from Jerusalem.
They noticed that some of his disciples were eating their meal with unclean hands, that is, without washing them. Now the Pharisees, and in fact all the Jews, never eat without washing their hands, for they follow the tradition received from their ancestors. Nor do they eat anything, when they come from the market, without first washing themselves. And there are many other traditions they observe; for example, the ritual washing of cups, pots and plates. So the Pharisees and the teachers of the law asked him, “Why do your disciples not follow the tradition of the elders, but eat with unclean hands?“ Jesus answered, “You shallow people! How well Isaiah prophesied of you when he wrote: This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. The worship they offer me is worthless, for what they teach are only human rules. You even put aside the commandment of God to hold fast to human tradition.“ And Jesus commented, “You have a fine way of disregarding the commandments of God in order to enforce your own traditions! For example, Moses said: Do your duty to your father and your mother, and: Whoever curses his father or his mother is to be put to death. But according to you, someone could say to his father or mother, ‘I already declared Corban (which means “offered to God“) what you could have expected from me.’ In this case, you no longer require him to do anything for his father or mother; and so you nullify the word of God through the tradition you have handed on. And you do many other things like that.“
“Stewards of God’s Creation“
God kept the best of His creation for last! Only on the 6th day, as the book of Genesis reveals, did God create man. When the setting has been arranged man is created. And God gives all created reality to the care of the one created after the image and likeness of God. Of all creatures man alone is the image of God. Man alone has the gift of reason and is given the authority, the responsibility over creation. Man is God’s STEWARD or care taker over creation. God had put his trust and confidence in man.
Unfortunately, we have not always been responsible STEWARDS of creation. We have been domineering over creation. Pope Francis in “Laudato si“ laments that in the last 200 years man has tended to simply treat all of created reality as objects to be used with a disregard for the unique order of nature God had designed for all of creation. The disruption of the rich biodiversity of our planet has caused the extinction of various species. Pope Francis reminds us that we must remember that when we harm creation we are bound to suffer dire consequences! Indiscriminate logging, for instance, not only affects our watersheds and the loss of habitat for various creatures. The loss of our watersheds leads to flooding. In the end we all suffer the consequences of a “battered mother earth!“
We ought to be more sensitive for our environment! We ought to ensure that we do not endanger the so many good God has created in the world. Pope Francis calls us in “Laudato si“ to cut down on our consummeristic habits and learn to “reduce, reuse, recycle!“ Do you really need a “new bag?“ or a “new shirt?“ Hold on to that piece of paper! You might still use its back page!