“Why do your disciples not follow the tradition of the elders but instead eat a meal with unclean hands?”
Words from our gospel today, according to Mark. (Mark 7: 1-13)
We are complicated people.
Give us a few thousand years and we can really complicate things.
Jesus is confronted by some Pharisees and scribes today, regarding his followers’ adherence to certain ritual laws.
Laws that made life complicated.
There is a danger when the Christian life is reduced to a checklist, a recipe, or a formula for salvation.
Because the Christian life is first and foremost dependent on an authentic encounter with the Risen Christ, and the ongoing relationship that follows.
The human traditions we have serve that end.
They are essential and shouldn’t be dismissed as “man-made.”
They help us maintain a rhythm, an order, a structure, a framework to encounter God.
But they shouldn’t become a mechanism in which we think we can control God.
The law is made for humans.
Not humans for the law.
The law nurtures the heart.
The heart nurtures the law.
We can’t afford to neglect one or the other.
It takes ongoing diligent mindfulness to make sure we’re doing it right.