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Arise and Shine: Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23

Jesus had a few issues with the Pharisees, and I think it’s safe to say, they had some issues with Jesus as well. The Pharisees were a religious and highly political party in the time of Christ. Following the letter of the law was of the utmost importance to them prompting Christ to retaliate and call them hypocrites (Mark 7:), whitewashed tombs (Matthew 23:27), and blind guides and blind fools (Matthew 23:16-17). The posture of the Pharisees hearts is what Jesus calls into question in today’s Gospel more than their rituals and rules.

In Mark 7:6-7, Jesus references the book of Isaiah 29:13, saying:

“This people honors me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me;
in vain do they worship me,
teaching as doctrines human precepts.”

This gospel verse caused me to look in the mirror and examine my heart and actions big time! If Jesus were to stand before us today, would He say, “Woe to you!”? Would He point out that we praise Him with our lips, but our hearts are far from Him? Do we go to Sunday or daily Mass but fail to see the mystery of the ordinary becoming extraordinary? Do we give talks and share the teachings of the Catholic faith for our glory or for God’s?

To take it a step further, as the Gospels have been calling us to do this week, do we look at the outward appearance more than we look at the posture of the heart of the people God places in our care daily? Are we aware of the words that form in our hearts and mind and come out of our mouths as we speak to those we minister to as well as our family and friends? Just think about the conversations we hear and participate in at the parish office or with the Core Team. Would Jesus participate in those conversations, or would He walk away, or would He have a “Pharisee moment” with us?

This Gospel is calling all of us out in some way or another. Whether it is evil thoughts, unchastity, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, licentiousness, envy, blasphemy, arrogance, folly (Mark 7:21-23) or something else that is coming from within our hearts, Christ is forcing us to change our heart and mind before our words and actions.

I remember one Mass when the priest meticulously purified the inside of the chalice and the ciborium after reception of communion. The detail he took to notice even the smallest fragment of the Body or Blood of Christ moved me to tears. I later went to Reconciliation with this same priest, and the love and care he had for my soul was palpable to me throughout my confession. It is with this same conscientiousness that we should examine ourselves from the inside out to reconcile with God. This coming Sunday, I invite you to watch the priest closely and observe how he purifies the chalice and ciborium at the end of communion.

About the Author

Tricia Tembreull

Tricia Tembreull is a California girl with a Texas-size heart for hospitality. She said yes over twenty years ago to God’s call to youth ministry and never could’ve imagined the adventures and people He had planned for her to encounter along the way. She serves as a Parish Coach for Life Teen and joyfully travels around the globe training, empowering, and praying with youth ministers. When not on a plane, you can find Tricia in a church, spending time with family and friends, in the kitchen cooking up something delightful, or on the beach for an evening walk.

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