Homily (Reflection) for Tuesday of the Fifth Week in Ordinary Time (I) (09th February, 2021) on the Gospel


Gen 1:20–2:4;

Ps 8:4-9. (R. v.2);

Mk 7:1-13.

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. 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 as “a belief, a custom, or way of doing something that has existed for a long time”[1] is very good and also necessary. 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 especially those 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 traditions.

The problem we have today is not that of tradition but that every form of idolatry and evil 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.

Bible Reading: 1Cor 5:11–6:1.

Thought for today: We are fools for Christ's sake (1Cor 4:10).

Let us pray: Heavenly Father, assist us to live as your children – Amen.

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[1] Longman dictionary of contemporary English: New edition for advanced learners (2009). Harlow: Pearson Education Limited.

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