Foolish Hypocrites

4Only a fool buys a piece of candy, eats the wrapper and throws away the candy. This is the kind of foolishness Jesus observed in the religious leaders of his time. They got lost in the non-essentials, in the trappings of human tradition.

It proofs how even religion can easily turn into a whole set of obligations to be followed unintelligent. Sometimes we come to the point when we probably do not even know anymore what we are doing it all for. But we keep doing it out of fear.

Reflection on Mk 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23

God’s people got off track sometimes. They put tremendous emphasis on doing all their religious observances and practices correctly- like washing hands and purifying vessels so as to put them to good and holy use- but they lost a sense of what is all about, which was faith in their God. This was evident because they became unjust, and exploited poor people.

At such times prophets would speak up on behalf of God, telling the people in loud and ways that their religious practices were worthless without faith in God.

When we feel something deeply, we have to express that feeling. For instance, if we want to encourage somebody during the one-week events in the intramurals, we may applaud and cheer. If we care a lot about some people, we may hug them, kiss them, or give them gifts. If we feel angry, we may scream and pound the wall. But someone else might express love in a different way- through a smile, a pat on the back, affectionate teasing.

And think of it the way around. Have you ever know a person who act “mushy” with everyone hugging and acting affectionate all the time, but somehow doesn’t feel genuine? This is like religious practices that do not express genuine faith. If faith is not present, religious expressions have no basis and will eventually become meaningless, empty, and boring. Such practices were hypocritical, and at times they are.

“Father in heaven, cleanse our attitudes, thoughts, and actions. Teach us the wisdom to strive holiness in our lives”

Amen

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