“You abandon the commandment of God and hold to human tradition.” vs. 8
Jesus had harsh words for the Pharisees and their preoccupation with ritual and ceremony. He tells them that everything they considered so important, all the traditions they’d inherited from their ancestors–everything was purely human invention! Imagine the shock waves rippling through their community! Jesus was saying that all they held dear was rubbish, and that they had abandoned what really counted with God. Poor guys! No wonder they rose up against him and arranged for his crucifixion! We’d do well to pay attention to what Jesus told the Pharisees because too often we get caught up in the same kind of nonsense. When are we going to figure out that all of the things we put at the center of our faith, our rituals and sacraments, our creeds and confessions, our constitutions and administrative structures–all those things are nothing more than human invention?! This isn’t to say that they are bad! Indeed we’ve come up with some pretty good stuff through the centuries–but it’s not what counts with God. And what is the commandment of God that Jesus talks about here? What is important? He made it plain: Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, and strength, and your neighbor as yourself! As Paul put it so well in his letter to the Corinthians, “And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.”
Thought for the Day: If love is all that counts, why even have all that other stuff?