Sunday Reflection: 22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle B
1st Reading Deuteronomy 4:1-2, 6-8
2nd Reading James 1:17-18, 21b-22, 27
Gospel Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23
How do we see the Commandments of God in our lives? How do we live them out in our daily lives? These are the questions that make us look back on how we have lived the Commandments of God. Oftentimes, we see these Commandments as mitigations of our freedom to do what we want. We see them as hindrances to our free exercise of will. But what is the main point of having these Commandments?
Our 1st Reading gives us a hint to the rationale of the Commandments. Moses tells the people, “Now, Israel, hear the statutes and decrees which I am teaching you to observe, that you may live, and enter in and take possession of the land which the Lord, the God of your fathers, is giving you.” Here we can see that the main objectives of the Commandments are to give life, to allow one to enter, and take possession of the promised land of God. The Law of God brings one to the fullness of life, makes one enter into a relationship with God that gives life, and makes one an heir to the promised land. The Law or the Commandments helps us to sustain the relationship that we have with God. They do not hinder us our freedom, rather, they make us enjoy life at its best.
In our Gospel, Jesus takes us deeper into the meaning of the Commandments of God. Sometimes we confuse the Divine Law with the laws that we make, and we take pride in following these laws than the Law of God. Jesus makes us remember that the Commandments of God has love as its center. What do we have in our hearts? Do we really care to fulfill the Commandments of God, by loving Him without reserve and loving others as we love ourselves? St. Paul tells us that love is the fulfillment of the Law because love does no wrong to others. When we love we take care not to hurt the beloved.
St. James challenges us then in our 2nd Reading, “be doers of the word and not only hearers, deluding yourselves.” We have to make the Commandments and Word of God alive in our daily lives. This is the meaning of following the Commandments, that we live them and make them bear fruit in our lives. We have to sustain our relationship with God in the “here and now” of our lives and the Commandments are “simple” rules that will make this happen.