Homily (Reflection) for the Memorial of Saint Paul Miki, P. & Companions, Mm., (06th February, 2018) on the Gospel and the Memorial
(Tuesday of the Fifth Week in Ordinary Time (II))
1Kgs 8:22-23.27-30;
Ps 83:3-5.10-11. (R. v.2);
Mk 7:1-13.
Paul Miki was born about 1565 in Japan. He entered the Society of Jesus and was a successful preacher of the Gospel. With twenty-five companions, he was tortured and crucified at Nagasaki on 5th February 1597[1].
Topic: Our tradition.
Christians are under attack in one way or another in many parts of the world. Often these attacks are carried out under the pretext of defending the tradition.
Jesus and His disciples were attacked in today’s gospel by the Pharisees and the scribes for the same reason. Their reason was that some of the disciples ate without first washing their hands according to the tradition of the elders.
They abandoned God’s commandment for human tradition. Jesus summarized this with a quotation from the prophet Isaiah, “This people honours me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching human precepts as doctrines” (Mk 7:6-7; cf. Is 29:13).
Tradition is very good and also necessary. It is “a belief, a custom, or way of doing something that has existed for a long time”[2]. However, tradition is not something static. Borrowing the words of Archbishop Albert Kenechukwu Obiefuna of the blessed memory, tradition grows, learns new things, goes to school, and so on. Recall how we communicated with others that were not living in the same vicinity with us, how we travelled, how twins were treated, and so on. Today, all these have changed in most parts of the world for good and their changes have become parts of tradition.
The problem we have today is not that of tradition but that every form of idolatry and evils take place in the name of tradition. People have rejected good aspects of the tradition of our elders like honesty, brotherly love, and so on to perpetrate evils all in the name of tradition. And this is what the church as the body of Christ condemns. We must live as God’s children just like Saint Paul Miki and his companions did.
Bible Reading: 1Cor 5:11–6:1.
Thought for today: We belong to Christ.
Let us pray: Heavenly Father, assist us to live as your children – Amen.
Saint Paul Miki & his Companions – Pray for us.
You are free to share this reflection with others if you consider it worthy.

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[1] The weekday missal: A new edition (1995). London: HarperCollins Religious, p.1413.
[2] Longman dictionary of contemporary English: New edition for advanced learners (2009). Harlow: Pearson Education Limited.

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