Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You do not forget the mint, anise and cumin seeds when you demand the tenth of everything; but then, you forget what is most fundamental in the law: justice, mercy and faith! You should have done these things without neglecting the others. Blind guides! You strain out a mosquito, but swallow a camel.
Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You fill the plate and the cup, with theft and violence, and then pronounce a blessing over them. Blind Pharisee! Purify the inside first, then the outside, too, will be purified.
One of the great differences between Catholics and Protestants lies in our understanding of how God’s Revelation reaches us. The Protestants maintain that it reaches us through the intermediary of a book, the Bible, and only through the written Bible. And one of the rallying cries of the Reformers was “Sola Scriptura!” On the other hand, the Catholics have always maintained that divine Revelation comes to us through both the Bible and Tradition. In the terms of Vatican II: “It is not from Sacred Scripture alone that the Church draws her certainty about everything which has been revealed. Therefore both Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture are to be accepted and venerated with the same sense of loyalty and reverence (Const. Verbum Dei, n.9).
Now this position of the Church is based on the fact that a good part of the New Testament (particularly the four gospels) was put down in writing decades after the Ascension. It was oral tradition which transmitted Christ’s teaching during that time.
We find this situation reflected in today’s first reading, an excerpt from a letter of Paul written most probably in 52 A.D., much before the first gospel was written. It says: “Hold to the traditions that we taught you by word.”
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