Lectio Divina: 2021-08-27

Our Lectio Divina for this Friday focussed on the reading for the 22nd Sunday of Ordinary Time year B.

In our Catholic Lectionary this appears as Mk 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23

You put aside the commandment of God to cling to human conditions.

Though, as usual in the group, members can choose to consider all Mk 7:1-23

These are the sincere thoughts of group members generously shared with us. It maybe that those thoughts would have been different yesterday and perhaps they will be different tomorrow.

One

“For it is from within, from men’s hearts, that evil intentions emerge.”

Earlier this week we remembered in the liturgy St. Bartholomew/Nathaniel, he of whom Jesus said “in whose spirit is no guile.”

I have been praying to be cleansed of any “guile” in my hidden self. This passage we look at today encourages me to continue praying like that.

Lord, cleanse me from my sin, deep within. Penetrate every nook and cranny of my being and rinse it out with your living water; let my spirit be crystal clear with your grace that I may give you glory to the end. When I fail, allow me to see where I have sunk and give me the grace to come running to you immediately in repentance. Beautiful God, I adore you, praise you, bless you, thank you. I love you.

Two

I use several prayer cards which help me in my prayer life and I want to share some comments from them. To me they are relevant to the gospel reading. These thoughts enter into my soul. Listen to God in silence. Focus your mind now on the powerful and loving realisation that God is with you now. Feel it entering into your body and soul. Feel the love of Jesus entering now into every fibre of your being. Surrender now to God’s love for you.

Become joyful and celebrate this moment in his presence. Rest in his presence now. In that moment raise your heart and soul to the Lord.

Three

My faith is based on the loving relationship I have with my Father in heaven. He knows what is in my heart. I need to learn from him how to live with a truly human heart to care for those who are lost, those who are hurting and to care for those people in our society who have no voice. Love is all powerful and I ask that God will guide me in my life to spread his love.

One of my favourite Psalms says this;

“A pure heart create for me, O God, put a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me away from your presence nor deprive me of your Holy Spirit.”

Four

I cannot change the wrong I have done but I can choose to act on God’s grace poured out upon me. Today and now

I turn my heart to God and to my neighbour.
I hold onto Jesus’ hand and let Him lead me as I walk with Him.
I talk to Him often.
I let go and let God clothe me as He wishes in humility, self control, generosity, kindness, compassion, wisdom and patience.
I choose to stand by Him hanging on the cross for me.

Five

Mark 7 1-23

The Pharisees were afraid and blinded by their own hypocrisy, just as we all are sometimes. It’s easy to look at the splinter in someone else’s eye and ignore the log in our own. From my experience God is fluid and not rigid. Love is not present when we are trying to control and impose our ways on others.

I remember on a retreat I asked my Spiritual Director, who was an elderly nun, what I should do about communion at the mass as I was divorced. She said she couldn’t tell me what to do, it was between me and God. I am learning that my job is to keep the focus off other people and on what needs to be changed in me. As soon as I start to control or judge another I know I have walked away from a compassionate heart. There is another way and I can trust God to show me what it is.

Six

Friends

This is mainly about the spirit rather than the letter of the law. Elsewhere, ( 2 Corinthians 3:6) scripture says “the letter of the law kills but the spirit brings life”

In other words, the law can tell you where you went wrong, but it cannot save you.

There’s nothing wrong with washing fruit from the market – in fact it’s often advisable, but the phrase that hit me was “teaching human precepts as doctrines”.

And “You abandon the commandment of God and hold to human tradition”

When the traditions become ends in themselves, rather than means to ends, they have got out of proportion.”We’ve always done it this way” can be a dangerous precedent.

From this Lectio, I have felt it necessary to examine and challenge my own beliefs and practices, to ensure I’m not falling into these traps.

Pax

Seven

In the Jewish tradition the heart is the seat of all emotions. I pondered on how many times I and many others use the “heart” emoji at the end of a text or a message. On Valentine’s Day cards are full of hearts and love. How often do we use the word “heartfelt” – sadness, sorrow, joy, love blessings – so many positive attributes to the heart yet at the end of the passage today Jesus lists all the negative attributes of the heart – all the things we are capable of doing that create pain and sadness and are not a reflection of the God that dwells within us all. These are the things that separate us and others from the love of God.

I am mindful of Ephesians 5 where in v1 it says ” therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children, and live in love, as Christ loved us……..”

I try my best to live as God wants me to and I often get things wrong. Once words have been spoken or things have been done they cannot be undone but we have a God who is forgiving when we are truly sorry.

” create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me” Psalm 51.

Love and blessings ❤️

Eight

‘this people honour me with lip-service, while their hearts are far from me’; ‘the worship they offer is worthless’; ‘traditions’

My first two sentences were very challenging for me, I wondered if my worship is as well worthless, if it comes out in words, but not from a conversion of heart. I wish I could say not at all, however I know I distract easily, and at times I am absorbed in the many problems of the day, and I should put God before all, at any time. Please Lord help me pay all my attention to You and to my brothers and sisters.

Then I was called by the word ‘traditions.’

I have a Jew friend, I always respected her faith, nevertheless I found some of her Jewish traditions of purity were totally incomprehensible for me; especially those referring to a woman being impure for having a period. I don’t deny that originally some of their rules had sense, and responded to a reality, a need in time, but that for me, were obsolete in the world of today, as not being able to eat a full list of animals, fish… for not being ‘pure’.

Then I thought about traditions in the Church within my own heritage. Many times I have listened things like ‘all life has been like that’, talking about customs that, if researched, were old, yes, 80, 100, 200, 300.. years old, but what is that in the more than 2000 years of Church’s history? Those customs, or traditions were originally a way of expressing something that with time lost meaning. And they are still people more interesting in ‘the letter of the law than in its spirit.’

My grandparents and generations before them never knew a Mass that wasn’t in Latin. My parents half of their lives too have their Masses in Latin, and they never understood a word. I always have had my Masses in vernacular language, Spanish, (or in English here). I understand the history behind the facts, we had so many centuries Roman everything that language endured even long after the Romans were gone. And later people were not able to understand Latin, but continued the Masses in Latin till the Second Vatican Concilium.

I have been in three Masses in Latin in my life. I went by curiosity, and despite in my science education we have to learn Latin for a year, I wasn’t able to be ‘in’, I felt like an spectator in a theatre rather than participating in the Eucharist. I wasn’t part of it, even when at least the Gospel and homily were in my own language.

I acknowledge that there may be people that may feel it deeply that way, and I respect everybody’s faith and opinion. Though for me, the question is that this is not the Tradition of the Church, with a capital ‘T.’ The Tradition of the Church, what is being past from generation to generation, is a perennial truth, the Word of God revealed to mankind, which is intrinsically in union with the Sacred Scriptures. It doesn’t change with a geographical or temporal situation, it is Greater in all senses that any tradition, custom, norm or practise.

Neither the Law of God is equivalent to the rules of humans, and the latest can not dictate our way of relating to God.

God the Creator of everything wants us to Listen and to Understand, that true worship has to come from our hearts and not from our lips, not from traditions, but from reading the Sacred Scriptures in the Tradition of the Church, which with the help of the Holy Spirit it is possible. As St Paul put it ‘… stand firm and hold fast to the traditions that you were taught, either by oral statement, or by letter of ours’ cf. 2 Thes 2:15

I don’t mean that the traditions of our elders don’t deserve respect, rather that they should be considered in the right manner, circumscribed to their place and time, not as the Truth. Otherwise, Jesus will accuse us too of substituting the Law of God with mere human regulations, or ritual practices.

Please, Lord Jesus, grant me/us the grace to worship You through the inner conversion of mind and heart, not through ritual practises.

In Jesus’ Name I pray.