Tuesday, 5 August 2008

My Thoughts on Today's Bible Readings

In today's gospel reading the Pharisees reprimanded Jesus for not telling his disciples to follow the traditions of their elders. Haven't we all heard this before? Older people have reprimanded the younger ones for this very thing since the dawn of civilization and will probably continue to do so all the way to Jesus' second coming (the identities of the 'older people' and the 'younger ones' change though). Now there is nothing wrong in following traditions. The Catholic faith is built on following the traditions of yesteryear all the way to the apostolic times. But we shouldn't follow traditions blindly but discern whether they are right or not. The Pharisees and scribes obviously do not see this; to them any Jew who practiced the rituals rightly and at the right times was automatically right with God, never mind what was in his or her heart.
Do we do this nowadays? Do we question traditions? Do we discern whether they are worth following? Do we automatically label all those who do as 'disrespectful' and 'rebellious'? How do we discern our traditions anyway? Do we automatically rebel against all traditions without discernment? Let us pray to God that His will be done in this, that He help us discern and take appropriate action when it comes to obeying tradition.

Dedication of the Basilica of St. Mary Major

Here are some details on the Basilica of St. Mary Major taken from Wikipedia:

- known in Italian as Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore
- one of the four major or four papal basilicas, which, together with St. Lawrence outside the Walls, were formerly referred to as the five "patriarchal basilicas" of Rome, associated with the five ancient patriarchal sees of Christendom
- the name of the basilica reflects two ideas of greatness ("major")- that of a major (or papal) basilica and that of the largest (major) church in Rome dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary

The rest can be read at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basilica_di_Santa_Maria_Maggiore.

Bible Readings for Today (Dedication of the Basilica of St. Mary Major)

Below you can read the readings for today Tue 5 August:

Jeremiah 30: 1-2, 12-15, 18-22
The Lord spoke to Jeremiah. “The Lord God of Israel says,
'Write everything that I am about to tell you in a book.'

Moreover, the Lord says to the people of Zion,
“Your injuries are incurable; your wounds are severe.
There is no one to plead your cause.
There are no remedies for your wounds.
There is no healing for you.
All your allies have abandoned you.
They no longer have any concern for you.
For I have attacked you like an enemy would.
I have chastened you cruelly.
For your wickedness is so great and your sin is so much.
Why do you complain about your injuries,
that your pain is incurable?
I have done all this to you
because your wickedness is so great and your sin is so much.

The Lord says, “I will restore the ruined houses of the descendants of Jacob.
I will show compassion on their ruined homes.
Every city will be rebuilt on its former ruins.
Every fortified dwelling will occupy its traditional site.
Out of those places you will hear songs of thanksgiving
and the sounds of laughter and merriment.
I will increase their number and they will not dwindle away.
I will bring them honor and they will no longer be despised.
The descendants of Jacob will enjoy their former privileges.
Their community will be reestablished in my favor
and I will punish all who try to oppress them.
One of their own people will be their leader.
Their ruler will come from their own number.
I will invite him to approach me, and he will do so.
For no one would dare approach me on his own.
I, the Lord, affirm it!
Then you will again be my people and I will be your God.

Matthew 15: 1-2, 10-14
Then the Pharisees and experts in the law came from Jerusalem to Jesus and said, “Why do your disciples disobey the tradition of the elders? For they don’t wash their hands when they eat.”
Then Jesus called the crowd to him and said, “Listen and understand. What defiles a person is not what goes into the mouth; it is what comes out of the mouth that defiles a person.” Then the disciples came to him and said, “Do you know that when the Pharisees heard this saying they were offended?” And he replied, “Every plant that my heavenly Father did not plant will be uprooted. Leave them! They are blind guides. If someone who is blind leads another who is blind, both will fall into a pit.”