"She replied and said to him, 'Lord, even the dogs under the table eat the children's scraps.'"
Today, on "Pray-as-You-Go," which originates in the UK, asked, "Does this woman seem a bit cheeky while addressing Jesus?" I had to laugh out loud. Yes, just a bit...cheeky. But, in thinking about my own relationship with Jesus, there are surely times I'm a bit cheeky as well. (I may just type in a British accent all day, so bear with me). I really try to behave myself while around others, but I can get in my car and just rant and rave and let it all out. And who am I ranting to? Well, thankfully, no one else is the recipient! What happens is, I don't feel pent-up or repress my feelings, I just complain to the One who can take it. And it leads me to treat others better. Jesus, you want us to be in relationship with you...we can tell you anything and everything and you support and love us, all the same. I'm sorry for the times I'm a bit cheeky and seem ungrateful for all the many gifts of my life. You told us to pray "all ways," and my crabby rants are sometimes the prayers on my heart. Thank you for encouraging me to be me, when I'm with you, even if I'm a bit cheeky...Love, heidi
"Nothing that enters one from the outside can defile that person; but the things that come out from within are what defile."
So much for "You are what you eat!" But this makes such perfect sense and goes along well with yesterday's Gospel. The people of Jesus' time had strict cleanliness laws and were quite finicky eaters. But, did that make them more moral, caring, loving people? Not necessarily. Jesus makes the point that it is what we do and say that really indicates what kind of people we are. Not what we eat or how we wash. The early dietary laws and laws of cleanliness probably made so much sense in the culture of the time. (Can you imagine NOT washing food from the first-century market?) They probably insured a healthier way of life. But, somehow, something got lost in the stringent adherence to law after law. People lost compassion and caring for each other. They lost themselves in hurtful, self-righteous, judgmental activity, but, by golly, their dishes were clean! Let's take care today to pay attention to what comes out of our mouths--our gossip, harsh judgments, critical tongue-wagging is far more harmful than anything we could eat today! Love, heidi
"You disregard God's commandment but cling to human tradition."
Jesus is talking to the Pharisees here about their complaining the disciples didn't go through the ritual washings before eating. There were a couple of excellent reflections on this Gospel today which made it so much clearer to me. First, in "Give Us This Day," Richard Reece, talks about "empty rituals," that is, rituals that may have had some deep meaning for us at some point, but now we do them mindlessly and without the love they were meant to inspire. Isn't that the truth? How often have we mindlessly done the Sign of the Cross while entering church, without giving it the true prayer-ness it deserves? Let's not let our prayer rituals become meaningless! They must be done with deep and reverent love for God! And second, on "Pray-As-You-Go," they asked how one tells the difference between God's commandment and human tradition? Good question! Sometimes, they blend together in our minds. When thinking about that, I immediately go to what Jesus actually did and said while he walked among us. Was Jesus inclusive? What did he say about the poor? How did Jesus treat people? Jesus lived God's commandments and showed us how to do it. We have the perfect example in Jesus. Love, heidi
"They laid the sick in the marketplace and begged (Jesus) that they might touch only the tassel on his cloak; and as many as touched it were healed."
That wasn't the way Jesus liked doing things. Jesus much preferred talking to each person he healed, looking into their eyes and asking, "What do you want me to do for you?" Walking through the crowd having his tassels touch and heal wasn't the way he liked it, but with the crowds and their tremendous faith, well, that's the way it worked out. What about us? Do we have the time for the one-on-one encounter with Jesus? Do we make the time to just sit and encounter? Or do we only have time for the tassel-touch? Because of the strong faith of the people, Jesus healed with the touch of his tassel, but he'd much rather have an encounter. Let's make time today for a real encounter! Love, heidi