Clean and beautiful, inside and out

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22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B: Aug. 30, 2015
Deut 4:1-2, 6-8; Ps 15; James 1:17-18, 21-22, 27; Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23

In the Gospel reading we have just heard, the Pharisees and the scribes took Jesus’ disciples to task for not washing their hands before eating, according to the customs of the time. Now, we should remember that their motivation for such handwashing was not being sanitary, but rather ritual purity. The law that the Lord gave his people in the Old Covenant required certain kinds of washing—especially of priests preparing to offer sacrifice, but also of all people in certain circumstances—for the sake of ritual purity.

But there is a problem with the Pharisees’ view of this: (more…)

Los frutos hermosos que desea el Señor de ti, su viña

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XXVII Domingo Ordinario, Año A: 2 Octubre 2011
Is 5, 1-7; Sal 79; Flp 4, 6-9; Mt 21, 33-43

El Señor ha plantado una viña—oímos en la primera lectura y en la parábola de nuestro Señor Jesucristo. La cavó, la limpió de piedras y la plantó con cepas escogidas—la plantó con ti mismo. Te plantó a ti en su viña, en una loma fértil, te cuidó asiduamente, te trasplantó a otra tierra que la de tu nacimiento, y continúa cuidarte aquí.

Y desea frutos. Desea una cosecha de ti. ¿Qué tipo de frutos desea de tu vida? Sería fácil decir sólo “la equidad” y “la justicia,” como dice la primera lectura—como si sólo deseara que evites acciones obviamente injustas. Pero esa respuesta vino de antes de la nueva alianza que hizo Jesucristo en su propia sangre; antes de la gracia de los sacramentos; antes de la oferta de incorporarte en el cuerpo resucitado de Jesucristo. (more…)

Guarding our hearts and minds, and making them beautiful

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27th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A: Oct. 2, 2011
Isa 5:1-7; Ps 80; Phil 4:6-9; Matt 21:33-43

As we go about our daily lives, we observe that many people are very careful about what they eat and drink. Some seek to eat only foods organically grown, or not involving genetic engineering. Many need to avoid foods they are allergic to—such as nuts, or gluten, or lactose—and perhaps they cannot take in even a trace amount of those substances. Certainly this is the case if someone is traveling to a country where food is not handled safely, and they can become sick by eating the wrong thing handled and prepared in a tainted environment.

This same care can also be taken with what we breathe in, so that we avoid second-hand smoke and are careful with air filters. Or in what we place against our skin: what our clothing is made of, or our sheets or other objects.

We are careful about what we take into our bodies by mouth, by breathing, by direct contact. But what about what we take into our hearts and minds, our souls, by seeing and hearing? (more…)