Gospel of Matthew 15:1-2, 10-14 Reflection:
Jesus is once again causing shock to the poor old Pharisees: he ignores their traditions and appears to them to flout the Laws of God. They find this freshness almost brash and too ‘in your face.’ It would nearly remind you of the reaction of many Catholics to the Charismatics in the early 70s.
But Jesus sees through all the ritual and looks directly into the heart of a man. Washing your hands before you eat does not make you a good person nor does obeying a host of little rituals like cleaning cups or touching your forehead when you enter a house.
Sometimes in life we all fall for these habits and ideas, especially when we think that they make us just that little bit superior to others.
The message of Jesus is something we need to be on our guard for all the time. Do not let our faith or marriage or life become ritual but let it be real and filled with love. Only then can we enjoy the fruits of the Christian life.
Today is also the feast of the Dedication of the Basilica of St Mary Major. After the Council of Ephesus at which the doctrine of Mary being Mother of God was pronounced, Pope Sixtus III had a church built in Rome in honour of Our Lady. The church has become known as Mary Major and if ever you are in Rome make sure that you see it. It is one of the most beautiful churches in the world. It sits in a massive square and it is one of those churches that no matter which end you approach from it is an impressive work of art.