Tag Archives: 22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

Toxic Words

We all know it is important to wash our hands before eating or handling food.  We don’t want to consume more than we bargain for!  So it seems not unreasonable in this passage for the Teachers to be pulling Jesus’ disciples up on not having washed their hands.  These are men who live an itinerant life, and opportunities to wash must have been haphazard to say the least.  How kind of them to worry about the health of the disciples…

But that is not really what they are quibbling about.  They are not talking about hygiene, but about ritual.  It is not about washing your hands, or fruit, or pots and pans – all of which is necessary, but about washing them a certain way, a ritual way, almost a magic way as if it’s not done ‘that’ way, it doesn’t count.  It is just another way of control and rules and regulations that add nothing.

They want to know why Jesus isn’t doing things ‘their’ way.

Jesus, quite bluntly, tells them that they would be better worrying about what comes out of their mouths than what goes in.  There words and behaviour are far more toxic than any bacteria.

What they do and say to people is harming them, potentially killing them, and it is certainly not pleasing God.

There words and actions are meaningless, because they are about their control not God’s ways.  Where is that love that our readings have spoken of all week?

Forgive me Lord,
when I make up rules
about you;
when I focus
on things that don’t matter,
and not
on what does;
when I point to people’s errors
and don’t consider
what I am really doing.

Lord,
take me from toxicity
to love,
for nit-picking
to freedom,
from control
to hope
in
and through
you

Mark 7:1-8, 14-16, 21-23  (CEV)

The Teaching of the Ancestors

Some Pharisees and several teachers of the Law of Moses from Jerusalem came and gathered around Jesus. They noticed that some of his disciples ate without first washing their hands.

The Pharisees and many other Jewish people obey the teachings of their ancestors. They always wash their hands in the proper way before eating. None of them will eat anything they buy in the market until it is washed. They also follow a lot of other teachings, such as washing cups, pitchers, and bowls.

The Pharisees and teachers asked Jesus, “Why don’t your disciples obey what our ancestors taught us to do? Why do they eat without washing their hands?”

Jesus replied:

You are nothing but show-offs! The prophet Isaiah was right when he wrote that God had said,

  “All of you praise me
    with your words,
but you never really
    think about me.
It is useless for you
    to worship me,
when you teach rules
    made up by humans.”

You disobey God’s commands in order to obey what humans have taught.

What Really Makes People Unclean

14 Jesus called the crowd together again and said, “Pay attention and try to understand what I mean. 15-16 The food that you put into your mouth doesn’t make you unclean and unfit to worship God. The bad words that come out of your mouth are what make you unclean.”

21 Out of your heart come evil thoughts, vulgar deeds, stealing, murder, 22 unfaithfulness in marriage, greed, meanness, deceit, indecency, envy, insults, pride, and foolishness. 23 All of these come from your heart, and they are what make you unfit to worship God.

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Living in Love

You want me to be yours,
your special one,
one with your special people.
you invite me to be yours
and shower me with your gifts.

Living with you
means living your way,
living your love,
in love,
with you
and with those
who my life rubs up against.

Lord,
forgive me when I get angry,
when I so quickly flare up
instead of taking the time to listen,
to hear,
to view from a different angle
and understand.

Anger blinds me,
it stops me seeing the good,
the profound,
the holy.
Save me from arrogance
and bring me
to humility.

Help me to listen to you,
because listening
demands a response,
an action,
a purpose
and a call.
My tongue can take me
so far from that.

Lord,
help me to speak,
think,
and do
only what shows love for you,
lived out in love for others,
through your love for me.

As I live in your love for me,
may that love
control and direct
all I do or say,
and stop me
when I am tempted
to step outside
of loves ways.

Wonderful Grace

James 1:17-27 (CEV)

17 Every good and perfect gift comes down from the Father who created all the lights in the heavens. He is always the same and never makes dark shadows by changing. 18 He wanted us to be his own special people, and so he sent the true message to give us new birth.

Hearing and Obeying

19 My dear friends, you should be quick to listen and slow to speak or to get angry. 20 If you are angry, you cannot do any of the good things that God wants done. 21 You must stop doing anything immoral or evil. Instead be humble and accept the message that is planted in you to save you.

22 Obey God’s message! Don’t fool yourselves by just listening to it. 23 If you hear the message and don’t obey it, you are like people who stare at themselves in a mirror 24 and forget what they look like as soon as they leave. 25 But you must never stop looking at the perfect law that sets you free. God will bless you in everything you do, if you listen and obey, and don’t just hear and forget.

26 If you think you are being religious, but can’t control your tongue, you are fooling yourself, and everything you do is useless. 27 Religion that pleases God the Father must be pure and spotless. You must help needy orphans and widows and not let this world make you evil.

A Song of Love

I think of you,
I love you.

What words can I use to express that love?
What can I say?
How can I show you
how much you mean to me?
How can I prepare myself
to meet with you?
What can show the depth of my love?

And so I sing this song for you,
I create a symphony,
a feast for the senses

– all to worship
and adore you

Blessing and Honour

Psalm 45:1-2, 6-9 (CEV)

(A special psalm for the people of Korah and for the music leader. To the tune “Lilies.” A love song.)

For a Royal Wedding

45 My thoughts are filled
with beautiful words
    for the king,
and I will use my voice
    as a writer would use
    pen and ink.

No one is as handsome as you!
    Your words are always kind.
    That is why God
    will always bless you.

You are God, and you will rule
    forever as king.
    Your royal power
    brings about justice.
You love justice and hate evil.
    And so, your God chose you
    and made you happier
    than any of your friends.
The sweet aroma of the spices
myrrh, aloes, and cassia,
    covers your royal robes.
You enjoy the music of harps
    in palaces decorated
    with ivory.
Daughters of kings are here,
and your bride stands
    at your right side,
    wearing a wedding gown
    trimmed with pure gold.