Fr Paul reads from Mark’s Gospel (7: 1-13) in which the scribes and Pharisees take Jesus to task about how his disciples live out Jewish law and customs.

Today in this Gospel, Fr Paul says, we hear debate about the difference between oral law and the written law.  The Pharisees, who Jesus is speaking to, hold that the oral law, that is the law that has been handed down since the time of Moses, is just as important as the written law.

The Gospel writer of Mark first talks about a matter that would divide the early community because if both the written and the oral law were to be followed then Christians, Jews and Gentiles would not be able to share a meal together.  The Gospel writer then moves onto an interpretation of the 4th commandment, which is the first of the commandments about social behaviour and this commandment is the basis of all family life.

Having talked of these debates we must keep in mind the most important principal of all and that is the principal Jesus enunciates, ‘What I want is love, not sacrifice’; for Jesus this is highest principal.

For our reflection today Fr Paul invites us to simply reflect on ‘How do I live out this principal of love in my life now?’