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Theology for the common man

22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time B

Sunday, August 29, 2021

Once proud from its attachment to Divine commandments and religion, which kept it in close relationship with God, Yahweh, the Israeli nation lost its fundamental freshness and grew stiff in its basis, forgetting about the divine spirit and a man. It happened because after a while it gave way to human tradition and followed political correctness. This was a main objection of Jesus, who didn’t want to change the Law of God but to restore it’s fundamental spirit. The example of this we find in today’s Gospel. Jesus reproaches the Pharisees, responsible to some degree for the condition of faith of Israeli nation, their concerns (and teachings) about the external cleanliness of vessels and hands, which was responsible for the spiritual uncleanliness of people who ate the meal from them, and they didn’t see a real problem in the spiritual interior, called the “heart of man”. It makes one think their detailed reflections about the prescriptions concerning keeping clean the vessels before and after the eating, which should always be clean (without ascribing them to special religious conditions), and disregard a man who is supposed to be fed because of hunger and of the other necessities. Jesus comes back to the source and shows a man as a center of God’s interest, pointing out at the heart of a man, from which comes as well good and bad deeds. “All these evils (which commit a man) come from within (him) and they defile”, concludes Jesus in his speech. Similarly, it happens in doing goodness, always aimed by the grace of God, which St. James encourages us today.