“You shall not add to the word which I commanded you,.. keep the commandments of the Lord.”
A reading from the Book of Deuteronomy (Deuteronomy 4:1-2.6-8)
Moses spoke to the people, saying, “Now, O Israel, give heed to the statutes and the ordinances which I teach you, and do them; that you may live, and go in and take possession of the land which the Lord, the God of your fathers, gives you. You shall not add to the word which I command you, nor take from it; that you may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you. “Keep them and do them; for that will be your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the peoples, who, when they hear all these statutes, will say, ‘Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.’ For what great nation is there that has a god so near to it as the Lord our God is to us, whenever we call upon him? And what great nation is there, that has statutes and ordinances so righteous as all this law which I set before you this day?”
The word of the Lord.
RESPONSORIAL PSALM Psalm 15:2-3a.3bc-4ab.5 (R. la)
R. O Lord, who may abide in your tent?
Whoever walks without fault;
who does what is just,
and speaks the truth from his heart.
Who does not slander with his tongue. R.
Who does no wrong to a neighbour,
who casts no slur on a friend,
who looks with scorn on the wicked,
but honours those who fear the Lord. R.
Who lends no money at interest,
and accepts no bribes against the innocent.
Such a one shall never be shaken. R.
“Be doers of the word.”
A reading from the Letter of Saint James (James 1:17-18.2 lb-22.27)
My dearest brethren: Every good endowment and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth that we should be a kind of first fruits of his creatures. Receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. Religion that is pure and undefiled before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.
The word of the Lord.
ALLELUIA James 1:18
Alleluia. Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth that we should be a kind of first fruits of his. Alleluia.
“You leave the commandment of God, and holdfast the tradition of men.”
A reading from the holy Gospel according to Mark (Mark 7:1-8.14-15.21-23)
At that time: When the Pharisees gathered together to Jesus, with some of the scribes, who had come from Jerusalem, they saw that some of his disciples ate with hands defiled, that is, unwashed. (For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, do not eat unless they wash their hands, observing the tradition of the elders; and when they come from the market place, they do not eat unless they purify themselves; and there are many other traditions which they observe, the washing of cups and pots and vessels of bronze.) And the Pharisees and the scribes asked him, “Why do your disciples not live according to the tradition of the elders, but eat with hands defiled?” And he said to them, “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written, ‘This people honours me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the precepts of men. ’You leave the commandment of God, and hold fast the tradition of men.” And he called the people to him again, and said to them, “Hear me, all of you, and understand: there is nothing outside a man which by going into him can defile him; but the things which come out of a man are what defile him. “For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, fornication, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, licentiousness, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a man.”
The Gospel of the Lord.
Jesus teaches a new understanding of religion, our relationship with God, and worship. The old idea of religion emphasized external piety while the new idea was about interior spirituality. When religion becomes a game of pretence, we practice it to impress others and we do things out of a deep desire for praise, approval and applause. The instructions of Jesus regarding our spiritual exercises can be summarized as “Do the right thing with the right intention.” Mother Teresa says, “Today God loves the world through us. Especially in times like these, when people are trying to make God ‘was’, it is you and I, by our love, by the purity of our lives, by our compassion, who prove to the world that God ‘is’.