Twenty Second Sunday in Ordinary Time
“For it is from within, from the heart, that evil intentions emerge.”
This Sunday’s gospel places Jesus in a position where he is surrounded by the Pharisees and some of the scribes who had come from Jerusalem. It gives the idea that they may be trying to catch Jesus out as they watch on and notice what he and his disciples are not doing according to the law or how they are not keeping the tradition of the elders. Jesus in response teaches that it is what is in the hearts of people that makes us impure. He challenges how we can turn rules and regulations to justify certain situations. But if it does not involve charity or love then we are not following the law of God.
This week yet again we are reminded of so much of the suffering of people through our papers and on our television. The shooting of the television presenters in the States, the tenth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina where so many were left stranded, the ongoing suffering of people fleeing from Syria and seeking refuge elsewhere, the death of a survivor of 9/11 named the ‘dust lady’ reminding us that the effects of horrendous acts of violence against humanity leaves suffering that is ongoing. One story I was struck by this week concerns a man Ralph Boes, in Germany who is on hunger strike protesting on how his government is treating human beings. In his opinion the leadership of his country values humans only according to how they contribute to the economy. What of the sick, the elderly, the very young, those going through a hard time, the abandoned parent, the dying, the homeless, the volunteer, the caring neighbour, the loving parent, the family carer?And we see more and more of this over emphasis on ‘the economy’ only. Our leaders, our governments only putting emphasises on the economy- it takes from the inner good of people. In many work places fellow workers are called to grade one another according to what they see the targets they have reached. Efficient, perhaps, in the short term but where is the human person? This motivation is not what builds community, and all of us need this even though some of us are not aware of that need, for it is the commandment of love and charity that heals our pain of isolation and loneliness. All that we give to one another when we are truly being human with one another. All of us, as Jesus teaches in today’s gospel, must examine our motivations. The commandment of God is that of love for all of creation.
Edel Murphy O.P