Mark 7:1-13 as it applies to us today


#1

This was today’s gospel reading and it sure hit home for me in terms of what out church teaches and what we believe in. I sometimes visit other multi-religious forums, and I’ve seen non-Catholic Christians use this passage to refute the validity of our church’s traditions. What do you think about that?

Also, I am wondering, are we Catholics in danger of becoming like the Pharisees if we elevate our doctrine over Christ’s spiritual message? It has already happened with some other Christian denominations. I keep praying that it never happens to us.

Thank you for your insight!

p.s. I copied the passage below

The Tradition of the Elders

7 1 Now when the Pharisees gathered together to him, with some of the scribes, who had come from Jerusalem, 2 they saw that some of his disciples ate with hands defiled, that is, unwashed. 3 (For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, do not eat unless they wash their hands, observing the tradition of the elders; 4 and when they come from the market place, they do not eat unless they purify themselves; and there are many other traditions which they observe, the washing of cups and pots and vessels of bronze.) 5 And the Pharisees and the scribes asked him, “Why do your disciples not live according to the tradition of the elders, but eat with hands defiled?”
6 And he said to them, “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; 7 in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the precepts of men.' 8 You leave the commandment of God, and hold fast the tradition of men." 9 And he said to them, "You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God, in order to keep your tradition! 10 For Moses said,Honor your father and your mother’; and, He who speaks evil of father or mother, let him surely die'; 11 but you say,If a man tells his father or his mother, What you would have gained from me is Corban’ (that is, given to God) – 12 then you no longer permit him to do anything for his father or mother, 13 thus making void the word of God through your tradition which you hand on. And many such things you do.”


#2

Usually those assertions are based more on passion than sense. While it is true that we, as Catholics, can fall into this trap, it is equally true that so can anyone else. A Catholic that adheres to tradition and a non-Catholic who does not can easily trade places on the “soapbox of the Pharisees” and celebrate their own sense of personal righteousness over the other.

We need to be on guard daily or it surely can. Isaiah’s reprimand (29:13) was given at at time when Jerusalem was rejecting the prophets and turning to the political powers for authority. They “worshiped with their lips” but lived a worldly life that rejected God. Can we find examples of this behavior today? Recently, there have been Catholic educators that have rejected the Church’s teaching and turned to political courts for authority. How many are advocates of abortion, contraception, homosexual unions, etc. but proudly claim their Catholic identity? We say that they are CINOs. Do we observe both fasting and abstinence (for the Lord) on Fridays during lent by treating ourselves to an overpriced, all-you-can-eat fish and shrimp entree while we boast our righteousness to our brethren?

Some days I think I valued humility and some days I’m the Pharisee. The world and its temptations can creep into all of our lives, whether Catholic or not; we must remain daily diligent in our militant fight for the incorruptible crown for ourselves and all our brethren.


#3

Our doctrine has to do with faith and morals – the spiritual teachings of Jesus.

We do have regulations in addition to doctrine, but I can’t think of any that are preached about or elevated over Our Lord’s teachings.


#4

Our doctrine has to do with faith and morals taught by Jesus. They elevate and emphasize His spiritual message.

We do have regulations (eg. 1 hr fast before communion) in addition to doctrine, but I can’t think of any that are elevated over or preached about more often than Our Lord’s teachings.


#5

It is also necessary to keep in mind what Tradition and tradition mean. One thing I try to keep in mind is that words mean different things to different people and it’s important that both ‘sides’ understand how the other defines a word.


#6

I think two things about that. Firstly, that if visiting such sites makes you question your Catholic faith, the faith Christ handed down to us through his Apostles, then don’t go to them. Secondly, anyone on a website can make any ignorant claims he wishes, but simply because someone states something doesn’t make it true.

Also, I am wondering, are we Catholics in danger of becoming like the Pharisees if we elevate our doctrine over Christ’s spiritual message?

There is absolutely no difference between our doctrine, which is Christ’s own doctrine given to us through his appointed Apostles, and Christ’s spiritual message–they are one and the same thing. Do not confuse doctrine and dogma with devotions and disciplines. Doctrines and dogmas are the permanent teachings of Christ and his Church and cannot change. Devotions, such as the rosary, or disciplines, such as priestly celibacy, however can change because they are not doctrine or dogma.

It has already happened with some other Christian denominations. I keep praying that it never happens to us.

Thank you for your insight!

It can happen to individuals or parishes or non-Catholic denominations, but it cannot happen to the Church as a whole. Jesus promised his Church three great promises: one, that it would never fail, two that it would always have the guidance of the Holy Spirit in matters of faith and morals, and three that he, Christ, would be with his Church until the end of the world. So, while some Catholics may go off the rails, the Church never can because she is divinely instituted with Christ as her head and she as his body, which can no more be divided than can Christ be divided from the Father or the Holy Spirit.

p.s. I copied the passage below

The Tradition of the Elders

7 1 Now when the Pharisees gathered together to him, with some of the scribes, who had come from Jerusalem, 2 they saw that some of his disciples ate with hands defiled, that is, unwashed. 3 (For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, do not eat unless they wash their hands, observing the tradition of the elders; 4 and when they come from the market place, they do not eat unless they purify themselves; and there are many other traditions which they observe, the washing of cups and pots and vessels of bronze.) 5 And the Pharisees and the scribes asked him, “Why do your disciples not live according to the tradition of the elders, but eat with hands defiled?”
6 And he said to them, “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; 7 in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the precepts of men.' 8 You leave the commandment of God, and hold fast the tradition of men." 9 And he said to them, "You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God, in order to keep your tradition! 10 For Moses said,Honor your father and your mother’; and, He who speaks evil of father or mother, let him surely die'; 11 but you say,If a man tells his father or his mother, What you would have gained from me is Corban’ (that is, given to God) – 12 then you no longer permit him to do anything for his father or mother, 13 thus making void the word of God through your tradition which you hand on. And many such things you do.”

Jesus was addressing ridiculous rules and regulations that the Pharisees imposed on the people which they themselves couldn’t even keep, and the fact that they skirted the true Law of Moses for personal gain. This has nothing whatsoever to do with proper canon law (which is merely how the Church is governed) and imposing impossible conditions on people in order to feel superior to others. Certainly individuals may try to lord it over others, but Jesus and the Apostles clearly taught against our bishops and priests doing so. If they fail in this it is individual sin and not any failing of the Church whom they have failed by bad behavior any more than the bad behavior of the Pharisees could negate the Law of Moses which was of God and not of man.


#7
  1. Ignorance.
  2. Bigotry.
  3. Hypocrisy.

Each of those persons citing this has man-made traditions in their own community! Bible alone. Church “services.” Altar calls. Sinner’s prayer. Symbolic communion. Grape juice. All man-made traditions. Many of them deny the Eucharist, deny the real Presence, deny the sacrifice, thus making void the word of Christ in the upper room. It is Mark 7:13 before our very eyes.

The Catholic Church has the power to bind and loose, thus establishing a binding agreement with the Lord, i.e. indulgences. Not a single one of those other organizations has this, thus they do not comprehend. The log and splinter once again.

This is the tragedy of the evil one inciting division in the Body of Christ. The situation needs constant prayer.


#8

ther are few group assembly’s or churches or demoninations – who use the scriptures to support their claim-- for existance that think thay teach the doctrunes of men-- or the traditions–

just as there was a conterversity – in the early church-- on what tradidions to follow–all though in acts 15 it did try to make it simple-- so as a starting point-- one might see what has been added to the church-- as a religious tradition–

Question: “What was the meaning and importance of the Jerusalem Council (Acts 15)?”

Answer: In the earliest days of the Christian church, the church was comprised predominately of Jews.

In Acts chapter 8 the gospel spread to the Samaritans (who were ethnically mixed Jews-Gentiles), and many Samaritans received Jesus Christ as Savior.

In Acts chapter 10, the Apostle Peter was the first to take the gospel specifically to the Gentiles, and many received Christ as Savior.

In Acts chapter 13-14, Paul and Barnabas had a very fruitful ministry among the Gentiles. All of these Gentiles turning to faith in Christ caused concern among the Jewish believers, first expressed in Acts 11:1-18, and the issues that caused concern were ultimately decided upon at the Jerusalem Council (Acts 15). The issues centered on two questions: Do Gentiles first have to become Jews before they can become Christians? Do Gentiles have to observe the Mosaic Law after they become Christians?

The impetus for the Jerusalem council is given in Acts 15, verses 1 and 5, “But some men came down from Judea and were teaching the brothers, ‘Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved’ … It is necessary to circumcise them and to order them to keep the Law of Moses.”

Some Jewish Christians were teaching that Gentiles had to observe the Mosaic Law and Jewish customs in order to be saved. Since this teaching clearly contradicted the fact that salvation was by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone (Acts 15:11), the apostles and church leaders held the first Christian council to settle the issue.

In verses 7-11, the apostle Peter spoke of his ministry with the Gentiles, as recorded in

Acts chapter 10.

**Peter focused on the fact that the Holy Spirit was given to uncircumcised Gentiles in precisely the same manner the Holy Spirit was given to the apostles and Jewish believers on the day of Pentecost. **

This led Peter to the conclusion that there should be no “placing a yoke on the neck of the (Gentile) disciples that neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear” (Acts 15:10).

Read more: gotquestions.org/Jerusalem-Council.html#ixzz2t31vsjpT


#9

I’m sorry but i dont seem to get your point.


#10

My version of Acts 15:11 is a little different: " But by the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, we believe to be saved, in like manner as they also." It don’t recall the "Solas" being taught at the first Jerusalem council. They weren’t taught until the 16th century, although modern doctrines have somewhat redefined them.


#11

St. James would like to have a word with you…


#12

That is so true. For the longest time I was one of of those CINOs. But even after gaining a deeper understanding and appreciation for the faith, I still worry about having some of those other aspects the Pharisees exhibited, namely too much pride and an overly scholarly approach to religion - one that is devoid of mercy.

I was glad that today’s gospel reading was this passage. I often read Matthew 5 through 7 whenever I’m flummoxed by theological debates.


#13

I agree. I think those who aren’t that knowledgeable about Catholicism often lump the two together.


#14

This is so true!


#15

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