Tuesday of the Fifth Week in Ordinary Time

Intention: For all caregivers, especially teachers, that they may be attentive to the Holy Spirit’s inspirations to work as bringers of strength and hope to all who they serve.

Today’s Gospel | Mark 7:1-13

When the Pharisees with some scribes who had come from Jerusalem gathered around Jesus, they observed that some of his disciples ate their meals with unclean, that is, unwashed, hands.  (For the Pharisees and, in fact, all Jews, do not eat without carefully washing their hands, keeping the tradition of the elders.  And on coming from the marketplace they do not eat without purifying themselves.  And there are many other things that they have traditionally observed, the purification of cups and jugs and kettles and beds.)  So the Pharisees and scribes questioned him, “Why do your disciples not follow the tradition of the elders but instead eat a meal with unclean hands?”  He responded, “Well did Isaiah prophesy about you hypocrites, as it is written:

This people honors me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me; In vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines human precepts.

You disregard God’s commandment but cling to human tradition.” He went on to say, “How well you have set aside the commandment of God in order to uphold your tradition!  For Moses said, Honor your father and your mother, and Whoever curses father or mother shall die.  Yet you say, ‘If someone says to father or mother, “Any support you might have had from me is qorban”’ (meaning, dedicated to God), you allow him to do nothing more for his father or mother.  You nullify the word of God in favor of your tradition that you have handed on.  And you do many such things.”

From the Tenth Meditation for the Time of Retreat | Saint John Baptist de La Salle

Your zeal for the children you instruct would not go very far and would not have much of a result or success if it were limited only to words.  To make it effective, your example must support your instructions, and this is one of the main signs of your zeal.

Saint Paul, speaking to the Philippians after teaching them different maxims, adds, Act according to the same maxims, and so be imitators of me. Look to those who live according to the example that I have given you.  Do the things I have taught you, what I have said to you, what I have written to you, and of which I have given you the example.  So, the ardent zeal of this great saint for the salvation of souls was to have them observe what he practiced.

This is also the way that our Lord acted, of whom it is said that he began to do and then to teach.  Speaking to his Apostles after he had washed their feet, he says, I have given you an example, so that you may do as I have done to you.


Eternal Father, many times we are too influenced by what we want others to think of us.  We look for ways to appear impressive to the world and forget how to be faithful to you.  Help us to live with humility and integrity. Teach us to hold your truth not just in our minds but in our hearts and in our works.  May we always follow in your ways and strive to build your Kingdom.  We ask this of you who lives and reigns with your Son and the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever.  Amen.

Saint John Baptist de La Salle, pray for us.
Live Jesus in our hearts forever.