August 30, 2015 — Twenty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time
Dt 4: 1-2, 6-8; Ps 15: 2-5; Jas 1: 17-18, 21B-22, 27; Mk 7: 1-8, 14-15, 21-23
In today’s Gospel from Mark, Jesus quoted the prophet Isaiah as he addressed the Pharisees, reminding them that they are hypocrites: “The people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me,” Jesus said. Unfortunately, some of us may fall into the same category.
We may attend Mass regularly; we may pray daily; we even may be supportive of the Church with our time, talent, and treasure as good stewards. However, Jesus is challenging us to do more than just make the appearance of being a good Catholic. The root Greek word for “hypocrite” is hypokrisis, which meant one “who is an actor” or one “who wears a mask.” The Lord’s point is that we must reach deeper and strive to have Him in our hearts.
Our society is quite taken with images and appearances. We need to recognize that Jesus sees through and beyond what we appear to be and do, and He sees into our hearts and souls. This may make us uncomfortable, but it is something with which we must deal on a daily basis. Whatever we do and whatever we may pursue needs to be motivated by love of the Lord and of “our neighbor.” Love like that — having our hearts close to Jesus — is work, but it is a labor worth pursuing.