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Browsing Reflections Archive

February 8, 2022

Daily Reflection for Tuesday, February 08, 2022

Peace and Blessings, Friends and Parishioners,

We encourage you to reflect on Tuesday’s scripture readings at this link: 

If you prefer to use your own Bible, the readings are:
First Reading:  1 Kings 8:22-23, 27-30
Responsorial:  Psalm 84:3-5, 10-11
Gospel:  Mark 7:1-13

Our reflection on Tuesday’s readings:
You nullify the word of God in favor of your tradition. And you do many such things.     Mark 7:13

I love traditions . . . the collective experiences that withstand the test of time.  Traditions celebrate relationships and responsibilities.  Traditions are passed on by people who care enough for others to surrender to a cause that they see as greater than themselves, greater than the sum of the parts.

But some traditions go wrong.  In Tuesday’s gospel, the Pharisees and scribes criticized Jesus’ disciples for not following a hand-washing ritual before eating.  Jesus said, “How well you have set aside the commandment of God in order to uphold your tradition!” (Mark 7:9)   Jesus focused on love and compassion for all; the religious leaders were focused on the mandates of their tradition.

Let’s go back to basics and be mindful of the source of our traditions.  In Luke’s gospel, the religious leaders confronted Jesus because he healed a woman on the Sabbath.  Jesus’ response began with four words, “This daughter of Abraham . . .” (Luke 13:16).  Despite their very human differences, they were all children of the great Abraham, and like him, they must be guided by the Spirit of God.  Healing the woman was an expression of that Spirit.

While traditions can unify us, “leaders” can use our traditions and our loyalties to twist our focus onto our differences, who’s “right” and “wrong.” They convince us of their “good” and the other’s “evil.”  Fear and insecurity “win” us to their point of view, dividing us against one another, creating disunity.

But just as Jesus did in a synagogue long ago, God calls us to shun such divisions, reject the slavery of fear, and live in loving unity.  Our unity is for bringing about God’s Kingdom, not uniformity in how we do that.  For example, I’m a Catholic Christian, but Jewish scripture shows me how the Eucharist is a covenant with God.  Islamic teachings on fasting are very helpful, as is Quaker humility.  The Methodist Covenant Prayer calls me to turn control over to God.

The jewels in other faith traditions don’t diminish my own; they strengthen it.  Within the Catholic tradition, we relate to Christ in many different ways.  There is unity – but not uniformity.  We have unique strengths and weaknesses.  By sharing with you, I strengthen my faith . . . I weaken my arrogance and self-centeredness. There is much we can learn from each other.

In humble appreciation for my diverse friends and their role in my spirituality,
Bill Bradbury


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