“Realizing the need to advance spiritually and socially – a holistic growth”
(Based on 1 Kgs 10:1-10 and Mk 7:14-23 – Wednesday of the 5th Week in Ordinary Time, Year II)
An elderly rehabilitation counsellor was sharing his knowledge…
… and inviting his students to learn from some of the experiences he had in life.
He spoke of how, early in his career, he found a young boy with several birth defects.
He arranged financial and medical help.
Skilled surgeons restored the child’s facial appearance.
Trained therapists taught him to speak and walk.
By his teens, the boy was able to take part in all the activities of other young people.
“What do you think has become of this young man?” the counsellor asked the students.
One guessed he was a great athlete;
Another, a skilled surgeon.
Another, that he also went on to became a counsellor
“No, none of these,” the retired counsellor said sadly.
“The young man today is a prisoner, serving a life sentence for murder.”
And he went on to tell: “We were able to restore his physical features and his ability to walk and act…
… but we failed to teach him where to walk, and how to act.
I was successful in helping the boy physically, but I failed to help him spiritually and socially!”
Are we growing only physically and externally?
Or are we also advancing spiritually and socially?
Are we having a holistic growth?
The Gospel of the Day is a strong act of Jesus reminding the Scribes and Pharisees to undergo the process towards holistic growth…
… and to do away with every trace of duplicity and hypocrisy.
The Gospel begins with the statement, “Jesus called to Him the people and said to them…” (Mk 7:14)
Jesus calls together the multitude to Himself to speak something…
Jesus brings aside the people to Himself to address to them something…
The background to this action of Jesus, is the context of the unfair remarks of the Pharisees and Scribes about Jesus and His disciples, in Mk 7: 1-14.
The scribes and the Pharisees had objected that Jesus’ disciples failed to keep up the tradition of the Elders to have the ritual washing before eating.
This exercise of ritual washing was more a ceremonial one.
They attached greater importance to external cleanliness over internal purity.
They accorded higher priority to hygiene outside than to transparency within.
They would not bother, hearts being corrupted, but they would not tolerate dirty hands!
They would despise unwashed hands, but they would bypass filthy hearts!
But Jesus is in prime opposition to all such deceitful and corrupt human practices.
He flays the Scribes and Pharisees for their misplaced priorities.
He slams the Scribes and Pharisees for their misleading interpretation of purity.
And so, Jesus summoned the crowd and explained the meaning of real cleanliness and purity:
“Nothing that enters one from outside can defile that person; but the things that come out from within are what defile” (Mk 7: 16)
Indeed, a remarkable statement from Jesus, the Purest and the Holiest One!
It is not just our hands alone that matter; it is our hearts that matter most!
It is not just our medical hygiene that counts; it is our lives that needs consideration the most!
The Pharisees and the Scribes for a long time, had enforced importance only to external purity and outside cleanliness.
Their authority was used to stamp the importance of rituals and traditions, which were meant to…
… only emphasize bodily cleaning, but avoiding transparency in life
… only highlight cleansing of external parts, but overlooking sanctity of heart and mind
But, Jesus comes in great opposition and places things in the right perspective.
He reminds them of the “need for correction!”
Perhaps, we are also in “need of a correction”…
… let us therefore make a self-introspection:
I may be appearing to be clean outside…
… but is my heart pure and holy?
I may be appearing to be an angel to the world…
… but am I a barn of devilish actions within?
I may be appearing to be very good to all…
… but am I full of anger, jealousy and greed inside?
I may be appearing to be successful…
… but am I decaying interiorly with impurity and deceit?
Is it not time to cleanse my heart and life, which is perhaps…
… defiled with sin?
… impure with unhealthy thoughts?
… and sullied with evil intentions?
In the Old Testament, we read of how Queen Sheba travelled from far to behold the richness and the wisdom of King Solomon (1 Kgs 10:1-10)
As long as Solomon co-operated with the Grace of God, the blessings of the Lord filled his life
The greater He depended on the Wisdom of the Lord, the greater was the Lord’s Goodness that he experienced in life.
However, there could be certain times, when we fail to depend on the Lord…
… fail to do things in the right way
We fail to make the journey towards a holistic growth!
Let us realise that it’s not enough to have a physical or external growth…
… rather we need to advance spiritually and socially!
God Bless! Live Jesus!
Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism
Christ’s Resurrection and Ours – How do the dead rise?
How? Christ is raised with his own body: “See My hands and My feet, that it is I myself”; but He did not return to an earthly life. So, in Him, “all of them will rise again with their own bodies which they now bear,” but Christ “will change our lowly body to be like his glorious body,” into a “spiritual body”
But someone will ask, “How are the dead raised? With what kind of body do they come?”
You foolish man! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies… and what you sow is not the body which is to be, but a bare kernel…
What is sown is perishable, what is raised is imperishable…. the dead will be raised imperishable…. For this perishable nature must put on the imperishable, and this mortal nature must put on immortality (CCC # 998-999)