The three readings speak to us about this theme. And all three say to us that it is not enough to hear and to know intellectually the law, what is needed is to live bent toward the vulnerability of our sisters and brothers.
THE BOOK OF DEUTERONOMY
Ø This book is called in the Hebrew Bible דְּבָרִים “These are the words” and in the Greek translation it has been given the name of Deuteronomy: deuteros (second) nomos (law).
Ø These words are the words of Moses addressed to his people before entering the Promised land.
Ø The book is composed of 4 sermons that the authors put in the mouth of Moses, who is portrayed as a leader, a prophet and a legislator.
Ø In the Biblical tradition the authors of some books like to attribute to important characters the teachings which the authors want to transmit. These words have not been necessarily pronounced by the person to whom they are attributed, but to the authors themselves.
Ø The renewal or reformation which is found in the Deuteronomy is as follows:
o The centralization of worship which leads to
o The centralization of justice and
o To other religious and social measures.
FIRST READING: Dt 4:1-2.6-8
« In the first chapters of the book “Moses” does a synthesis of the history up to that moment
« In reality it is not Moses who makes it or who pronounces the speech or the exhortation, but the authors of the Deuteronomy.
« Israel is asked to listen to the commandments and decrees which Moses is teaching them in the name of God.
« If they are faithful to the precepts and decrees they will live in the land that God promised to their fathers.
« Israel cannot remove from or add anything to the law that God is given to them through Moses.
o Nothing can be removed from the law, because it is God who is the LAW Himself, who has given it for the good of the people.
o Nothing can be added because whatever is added to the law comes from the pride of men and women who think that they are “gods themselves”.
o The law belongs to God not to us. We are not allowed to make is easier or harder.
« Our wisdom and prudence is to put the law, God’s commandments, into practice.
« The author asks, what people is there that has gods so close to it as the Lord, our God is to us? Yes, anyone who follows the law that God has put in the heart of every human being, discovers that he or she is very close to God who leads and protects him or her.
RESPONSORIAL PSALM: Ps 14
The psalmist asks himself: Lord who may abide in your tent?
And he answers THE ONE WHO DOES JUSTICE WILL LIVE IN THE PRESENCE OF THE LORD. What kind of justice?
o That is the one who does not harm his or her neighbor,
o who lends not money at usury,
o who does not accept any bribe….
will live with the Lord.
GOSPEL Mark 7:1-8.14-15.21-23
ü Mark presents to us a discussion between Jesus and the Teachers of the Law.
ü The Teachers are upset, are scandalized, angry, worried because the disciples eat without washing their hands, indirectly they are questioning an attitude of Jesus, but they only mentioned the disciples.
ü Jesus answers with vehemence quoting Isaiah 29:13.
ü Jesus says words against the cult that man and woman have invented.
ü In the Old Testament we find in Is 1:10-20 the same passion against the cult invented to make us feel good about ourselves, not for worshiping the Lord.
ü We follow the liturgical rules which we have made; but at the same time we forget
o the laws about fraternal love or our neighbor, about justice and respect for all who suffer, are exploited and humiliated.
o The laws about the respect for the dignity of every human being included ourselves.
ü We say prayers, and this is good, but at the same time we do not question ourselves about the many discriminations which we make in our heart, the pride and the self satisfaction about ourselves feeling that we are better than the rest, the lack of forgiveness of those who have offended or hurt us.
ü And Jesus invites us every day to be like Him, to act like Him who gave his life for his friends and for his enemies, for all. Jesus who loves us all, those I like and those I do not like.
To live in this way we need to allow Him to liberate us, in order to be really free. Only then we will be able to live according to his commandments.
LETTER OF JAMES
§ Since the end of the II century the letters not written by Paul are called Catholic Letters: James, 1 and 2 Peter, 1,2 and 3 John, Jude.
§ They are addressed to the universal Church. .
§ In the New Testament we find several men called James:
o James the son of Zebedee and brother of John (Mk 1:17; 3,17; Acts 1:22)
o James the son of Alpheus (Mc 3,18; Hch 1,13)
o James the brother of the Lord (Gal 1,19; 2,9)
This letter can be attributed only to “the brother of the Lord”, called also James the Less. He was the leader and bishop of the community of Jerusalem.
SECOND READING 1:17-18;21-27
o James reminds those who have been baptized that, all that we have ,has been given by God the giver of all that is good.
o God who has chosen us as firstfruits of his creatures.
o He invites us also to accept them with humility, that is with a thankful heart, the word which God himself has sowed in us. The Word which is the Gospel of Jesus.
o The word is not only to be listen to, but for acting according to it: caring for orphans and widows in their affliction. We can make a list of all those who are in need of our love, today: in our society, in our faith community, in our family, in our workplace…
o God does not need our plans, our programs, our courses, our prayer groups, our movements, our documents etc… we are the ones who need all of these. What God needs from me is that I love as He loves every human being, and this will lead me to do good to all, according to what each one needs from me.
At sea as well as in land, in the cities as well as in the desert the missionary of Christ must not be careless of self. If he cannot do all his readings, at least he should read two chapters of “The Imitation of Christ”, one in the morning and one in the evening, don’t ever abandon this faithful friend and always he be his adviser. Do not kill the spirit of the holy prayer no matter the many things he has to do. Jesus Christ our Lord and most perfect Master during the day did mission work and at night he prayed. María Antonia París, Foundress of the Claretian Missionary Sisters. The Apostolic Missionary 2:18-20
I had observed that the holy virtue of poverty not only edified people and upset the idol of mammon but also helped me greatly to grow in humility and advance in perfection. I can sum up what I learned by experience in the following comparison: The virtues are like the strings on a harp. Poverty is the shortest and thinnest chord and hence gives the highest sound. The shorter we are in life's conveniences, the higher we reach on the scale of perfection. Thus we see that Jesus spent 40 days and nights without anything to eat. He and his Apostles ate barley loaves, and they even ran out of these at times. Once the Apostles were so short of food that they took ears of grain and rubbed them in their hands to kill their hunger with the grains. They were even criticized for this by the Pharisees because they did it on a sabbath. Saint Anthony Mary Claret, Founder of the Claretian Missionary Sisters. Autobiography 370.
CLARET, Antonio María . Autobiography.
DESCLÉES DE BROUWER. Jerusalem Bible, new Spanish edition.
PARIS, María Antonia. “The Apostolic Missionary”.
RAVASSI, Gianfranco. Según las Escrituras. Año B (According to the Scriptures. Year B.) Bogotá Colombia 2005
SAGRADA BIBLIA, official translation of the Conference of Bishops of Spain. Madrid 2011 .