Posted by: livingscripture | February 6, 2018

Fifth Tuesday of Ordinary Time

 

FRIENDS and SERVANTS of the WORD

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

 

WORD of the DAY  

He responded, “Well did Isaiah prophesy about you hypocrites, as it is written: ‘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.    (Mark 7: 6-8)

How shall I live this Word?

The religion of Jesus is Gospel newness in content and in style, which in no way fits with the world’s outlook.  Jesus launches the program of an ecology of the heart.  The heart that is pleasing to God is a clean heart that does not descend into pettiness, does listen to criticism, and does not participate in grumbling about people who are absent.  In fact, all this distances us from the heart of the Gospel and therefore from Jesus.  Such an attitude pollutes our thoughts, our life, and that of others.  It is a poison very difficult to neutralize once it spreads.  Let us listen to a true story told by a saint.

One time a woman went to confession to St. Philip Neri, accusing herself of having spread gossip about some people.  The saint gave her absolution but with a strange penance.  He told her to go home, take a chicken, and return to him while plucking its feathers along the way.  When she appeared before him again, he told her, “Now as you return home, gather one by one the feathers you spread while coming here”.  The woman exclaimed, “That is impossible.  The wind has certainly spread them in four directions by now”.  And St. Philip answered her, “See, how impossible it is to collect the feathers once the wind has scattered them.  So too is it impossible to take back calumnies and grumblings once they have left your mouth”.

Lord Jesus, meek and humble of heart, grant that I may have clean thoughts and a clean heart.

The Voice of Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa, Theologian

In this passage, Jesus strikes at the root of the tendency to give more importance to exterior gestures and rites than to the attitude of the heart.  however today, we can gather from this Gospel page, a teaching that is not only individual but social and collective as well.  We become indignant when we see images of marine birds that come out of the water polluted by oil, covered with tar, and unable to fly, but we are not equally indignant when our children are precociously spoiled and extinguished.

 

 

 

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