YEAR B: HOMILY FOR THE 22ND SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
HOMILY THEME: HOLINESS FROM WITHIN
BY: Fr. Benny Tuazon
(Mk. 7:1-8, 14-15, 22-23) Twenty Second Sunday in Ordinary Time
In today’s Gospel, the Twenty Second Sunday in Ordinary Time, Jesus reminded the scribes, Pharisees, and the crowd which really defiles. The Jews had been led to believe that external cleanliness was of prime importance and would be enough to attain holiness. Thus, they added so many laws concerning external cleanliness. Jesus pointed out that those did not necessarily fulfil the commandments. In fact, from the first reading, there was not need to add more laws. What was important was their sincere fulfilment of the laws.
While external beauty, purity, and cleanliness were welcomed and considered acceptable, internal purity counted most.What came from the heart was what will bring us to holiness. It is interesting how people spend so much time, effort, and money for their physical beauty and health.
Unfortunately, they do not give the same attention to their hearts and souls. Internal purity is optional or can wait. We are so careful about what we eat, wear, and apply to ourselves. But are we as careful in what comes from our minds and hearts? For Jesus, the latter counted the most.
The first and second readings suggest how pureness of heart maybe attained. In the first reading, it says that laws should not only be known and followed. Laws must be done with God in mind. In other words, the laws were meant to establish a deep relationship between us and God. Having that relationship will assure cleanliness of heart. When we think, speak, and act with regard to Gods’ presence, we are invited to holiness.
The second reading provides the action part. I will let Scriptures speak according to the letter of James; “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God and the Father is this: to care for orphans and widows in their affliction and to keep oneself unstained by the world.”
Holiness involves charitable action. We do not only pray for others, but we help them as best as we can. Let me add further that we do good works not to expect anything in return. For the good doer, the act of doing good itself is it’s own reward.
Let us purify our hearts by being more concerned of what we say think and do and not what we eat, apply to our bodies, and measuring our weights and sizes!