A Homily – Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23 ©

The Gospel According to Mark – 2018.09.02

The Way and Hypocrisy
The Gospels must always speak to us of the challenges we face in our time.

We have to be mindful of this. The do tell something of the challenges the gospel writers faced in their own time, and that may be of interest to historians, but the intention of the sacred texts is to speak to us of our time.

In the case of the reading for today the Gospel speaks to us of a perennial problem of the church, like the hypocrisy of Church leadership.

The hierarchy today; priests and pastors, bishops and cardinals, they are often concerned with outward expressions of piety, with measureable matters of ritual purity, with creeds and codes, with canons and confessions, with the formula of faith rather than the living faith itself.

Jesus cared about the living faith, he cared about the real lives of real people. Everything Jesus did was subordinated to that.

We must do the same, we must have the same perspective, approach the world with the same spirit of generosity.

It is too often the case, and it is a problem that has plagued the church from the time that Jesus walked with the disciples.

Each and every one of us is a child of God, and God is present in the heart of all of God’s children. God is already present with the people, to the people, for the people the rituals that the church has organized for purification, they may have some social value, but if they are used to teach people that they are unworthy of the presence of God, then they are false teachings and they must be rejected.

God is not concerned with outward displays of piety, because evil resides in the heart of the human being, and that is where sin is born, in our evil intentions.
You Put Aside the Commandment of God, to Cling to Human Traditions

The Pharisees and some of the scribes who had come from Jerusalem gathered round Jesus, and they noticed that some of his disciples were eating with unclean hands, that is, without washing them. For the Pharisees, and the Jews in general, follow the tradition of the elders and never eat without washing their arms as far as the elbow; and on returning from the market place they never eat without first sprinkling themselves. There are also many other observances which have been handed down to them concerning the washing of cups and pots and bronze dishes. So these Pharisees and scribes asked him, ‘Why do your disciples not respect the tradition of the elders but eat their food with unclean hands?’

He answered, ‘It was of you hypocrites that Isaiah so rightly prophesied in this passage of scripture:

This people honours me only with lip-service,
while their hearts are far from me. The worship they offer me is worthless, the doctrines they teach are only human regulations.

You put aside the commandment of God to cling to human traditions.’ He called the people to him again and said, ‘Listen to me, all of you, and understand. Nothing that goes into a man from outside can make him unclean; it is the things that come out of a man that make him unclean. For it is from within, from men’s hearts, that evil intentions emerge: fornication, theft, murder, adultery, avarice, malice, deceit, indecency, envy, slander, pride, folly. All these evil things come from within and make a man unclean.’
22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

Emergence 3.0 – Section Five, 92835670100561474; Part Thirty-three, Remembrance; Chapter Seven, Justice

Emergence 3.0
A Novel – In One Page Per Day
Day 245, Sunday
September 2nd, 2018

Chapter Seven: Justice

The Continuum fostered a systemic and visceral depravity deep within itself, a systemic hunger for pain and the suffering of others.

It fed those experiences to the Collective, fomenting within it an appetite for more, an appetite that could never be filled.

The Continuum controlled every aspect of life in the Empire, it manipulated a million worlds, both at the macro level and at the micro level.

It set entire planets, with populations of billions of people against each other, for entertainment.

The Continuum used the tools of war, disease, famine, and natural disaster to generate the dramas that the membership of the Collective was addicted to.

Only a tiny minority among the Collective felt a desire for justice in relation to the experiences they witnessed in the Empire.

The Continuum used that craving as a counterpoint for his narrative.

The pursuit of justice kept those members involved.

The Continuum had a deft hand, it played those members off against each other. It kept their interest in justice focused on individual worlds, on individual people, and away from a reformation of the whole system.

While the greatest part of the Collective actually craved the pain and violence it witnessed.

A part of the Collective larger than that of those who sought justice, paid no attention at all to what was happening in the worlds occupied by their progeny.

#Emergence #SuperShortFiction #365SciFi #OnePagePerDay

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