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Did You Wash Your Hands

Tuesday in the Fifth Week of Ordinary Time Scriptural Readings: Genesis 1:20—2:4a; Psalm 8:4-5, 6-7, 8-9 Mark 7:1-13 My dear encountered couples:

Remember when you used to come to the dinner table and mother would ask, “Did you wash your hands?” She didn’t want you to get germs all over her carefully prepared dinner, and then stick them in your mouth. It is good practice to wash before eating. If there was an either-or, though, i.e. if it had been a choice of “either clean hands or eating,” I am sure your mother would have chosen for you to eat.

For she loved you!

In Israel, it was a religious ritual to wash before eating. It was a good custom because of the germ thing, but it became such a religious tradition that it was considered an outright sin not to wash your hands first. Some of Jesus’ disciples neglected to do this. The Pharisees looked upon them as sinners. It was not because they cared for the spiritual good of the disciples. It was because “tradition” was ignored. Have you ever met people like that? No love - just concern for continuing the tradition.

Jesus is really telling the Pharisees. “You are hypocrites. You carry out the traditions, pretending you are obeying God. But you do not care about God. You do not love him. You love your traditions instead. Loving him is what is important. Whether you wash your hands before eating or not, love of God is what is important. Whenever you are eating or drinking, whenever you are working or playing, whenever you are asleep or awake, God aches for your love.

That is what Jesus was telling them.

And you know what? I think your mother would have preferred you to love her too, above washing your hands.

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