Fr Paul reads from the Gospel of Mark (7: 1-13) where the Pharisees observe and question why some of Jesus’ disciples were eating with unwashed hands, rather than keeping with the traditions of a ceremonial washing before eating.
Fr Paul explains that the issue which is at play in this Gospel, is the relative importance of the oral or written law. The Pharisees held that the oral law, that is the traditions that were handed down by Moses himself but are not written in the Bible, were just as important as the law written in the first five books of the scriptures.
Fr Paul says, Mark gives the example of clean food or cleanliness which under the traditional rules it would be impossible for Christians and Jews to share a meal. However, Jesus sweeps away all of the rules about cleanliness for the far more important major principle of ‘what I want is love, not sacrifice’. For Jesus, this is the highest principle of all, applied to God and to all human activity,
Fr Paul says, for our reflection today, we may simply ask ourselves “how well do I love in my life at the moment?’