Sunday, November 4, 2018
Then Christ said to the Pharisees and scribes, “You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God in order to keep your tradition! For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and your mother’; and, ‘Whoever speaks evil of father or mother must surely die.’ But you say that if anyone tells father or mother, ‘Whatever support you might have had from me is Corban’ (that is, an offering to Go)— then you no longer permit doing anything for a father or mother, thus making void the word of God through your tradition that you have handed on. And you do many things like this.” – Mark 7:9-13
The unholy “holy” sin of rationalizing God’s command to serve one’s own intents and purposes, this seems to be a vulnerability of religious communities. Especially when among religious leaders, yet everywhere present, this transforming God’s desire into a worldly, selfish, often subtly form of an evil that confounds the wishes and ways of God.
Lurking within all human nature is the shadowy intent. Yet within all human nature there is that capacity for moral conscience. So what is the tempting recourse this conflict within us must take? Rationalization. We torture the desire of God until it seems to yield to our mortal desires. It is an aspect of the Deceiver’s course, to enable us to deceive ourselves. We do it through denial. We do it through self-delusion. We do it through a cleverness which is devoid of wisdom. We do it through self-defined righteousness that self-justifies our hypocrisy. And I must add … we do it through using righteous causes to hide our unrighteous motives.
I speak not of a Biblical literalism that in itself is often used as a wolf in sheep’s clothing, but rather a humble, stark honesty with God. It is in an ongoing life of confession that seeks purity of motive and means. It is in a continual beholding of the person of Christ so that we not allow ourselves to wander to far away from the incarnational model of Divine expressed through human form and the human endowed with Divine Presence. It is a coming clean, a sacrifice of the false and sinful self in hope of maturing one’s true and holy self.
The Pharisees and the Temple authorities at the time of Christ were masters of self-serving tradition couched in clever doctrine. Yes, doctrine is a most common form of “tradition” that can often be used to confound the intents and purposes of God. They did it then, we do it now. My Loved Ones, “traditions” if left unchallenged can slowly corrode into something more of Man than of God.
Be honest with yourself; be honest with God; be honest with others.
Always in Christ’s Service,
Fr. Charitas de la Cruz