Daily Reflection – Feb 9, 2016
Tuesday 9 February 2016
First Reading: 1 Kings 8:22-23, 27-30
How lovely is your dwelling-place, Lord, mighty God
Psalm 83(84):3-5, 10-11
Gospel Reading: Mark 7:1-13
Today’s Note: Tuesday of the Fifth Week in Ordinary Time
When the Pharisees with some scribes who had come from Jerusalem
gathered around Jesus,
they observed that some of his disciples ate their meals
with unclean, that is, unwashed, hands.
(For the Pharisees and, in fact, all Jews,
do not eat without carefully washing their hands,
keeping the tradition of the elders.
And on coming from the marketplace
they do not eat without purifying themselves.
And there are many other things that they have traditionally observed,
the purification of cups and jugs and kettles and beds.)
So the Pharisees and scribes questioned him,
“Why do your disciples not follow the tradition of the elders
but instead eat a meal with unclean hands?”
“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.
You disregard God’s commandment but cling to human tradition.”
He went on to say,
“How well you have set aside the commandment of God
in order to uphold your tradition!
For Moses said,
Honor your father and your mother,
and Whoever curses father or mother shall die.
Yet you say,
‘If someone says to father or mother,
“Any support you might have had from me is qorban”’
(meaning, dedicated to God),
you allow him to do nothing more for his father or mother.
You nullify the word of God
in favor of your tradition that you have handed on.
And you do many such things.”
Your dwelling place—Reading the psalm for today has put a friend’s song in my head, ‘Even the sparrow’.
‘How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord. Even the sparrow has found a home at the foot of your altar, Lord.’ The sparrow is known for being plain, but it’s amazing that even the plainest of birds has a place in God’s heart. In Solomon’s prayer he realises the magnitude of our Lord, even heaven, God’s dwelling place, cannot contain Him, much less the temple that Solomon had built. Solomon is humbled that despite this unfathomable fact, God gives attention to our prayers and requests for mercy.
We are instructed in today’s gospel to respond to this gift by putting aside human traditions and honouring God with our hearts not just our lips. Thank you Lord for my place at your altar, I am humbled by your love for me, and the honour you bestow upon this humble sparrow.