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Hear and Understand

Sa Kabilang-Ibayo
August 3, 2020
SEEING THE ESSENTIALS
August 4, 2020
PITIK-BULAG: Hear and Understand
 
Washing of hands was very important for the Pharisees in order to worship Yahweh. This was part of the very rigid rituals they imposed on people to worship Yahweh. They explicitly taught the Jews that an impure person could not receive the blessings promised by God to Abraham. Because of fear, or being identified as “unclean” the Jews found themselves totally enslaved by these useless rituals. The people had lost the true meaning of PURITY, which is basically THE RIGHT DISPOSITION IN WORSHIPING GOD. What pleases the Lord is not our external cleanliness, but our holiness or righteousness in front of Him. Thus, Jesus said in our gospel … “HEAR AND UNDERSTAND!”
 
In our gospel reading today, the Lord gave us new teaching in purifying ourselves. God is holy. Thus, we need to come to Him with a pure mind and heart. The purity of our spirit counts, not the cleanliness of our body. A humble and contrite heart is all he wants. Being impure is not all about unwashed hands, nor touching the leper and the dead, nor eating with the tax collectors, nor having your monthly period. Thus, the Lord was disappointed with religious leaders. He called them blinds leading the blinds. In reality, what our sins, impure thoughts, and inordinate attachments make our souls impure. It is not all about something that we ate, touched, or visited.
 
In our gospel today, Jesus gives emphasis on things that come out from our mouth that makes us unclean. Words are powerful. An insensitive careless words can hurt people. It’s like a knife that can deeply cut one’s heart. On the other hand, a gentle loving words could bring comfort and healing to a wounded heart. Through His Words, Jesus purifies the lepers, expels demons, heals people, and forgives their sins. Good word heals. Yet, impurity breeds in our hearts. Thus the Lord said, “What comes out of the mouth is what defiles one.” (Matthew 15:11).
 
Consider the following points for your reflection:
 
1. TO HEAR AND UNDERSTAND. God is inviting us to humbly open our minds and hearts. Our failure to see the things that matter most or the things that last makes us spiritually blind. He called the Pharisees blind for their failure to see the spirit behind the rituals like washing of hands. Rituals are important. They help us dispose of ourselves spiritually. But they are not everything. WE WORSHIP GOD WITH PURE HEARTS, NOT WITH CLEAN HANDS. WE USE OUR LIPS TO PRAISE GOD, AND NOT TO CURSE PEOPLE. WE USE OUR MOUTH TO CONSOLE AND NOT TO HURT PEOPLE.
 
2. PURIFY YOUR HEART. We may hurt people with our insensitive unkind words. We blame our mouth for it. But in the final analysis, what makes us unclean or impure are the things we keep in our hearts. Our unclean hearts are the wellspring of our insensitive words.
 
Those spiritual and emotional garbages in our hearts are the main culprit. We need to identify them and remove them from our hearts. Toxic emotions like anger, hatred, fear, anxiety, hopelessness should be removed or tamed, as well as our inordinate attachments such as our selfishness and greed for wealth, power, and fame. WE NEED TO UPROOT ALL THESE THINGS IN OUR HEARTS. Thus, the Lord said, “Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be uprooted. (Matthew 15:13).
 
3. BEWARE OF NOT BECOMING A BLIND GUIDE. The Lord is inviting us to be more vigilant in not becoming blind guides. Prayer and discernment of spirits play a very important role to see things in God’s eyes. We may not be aware of our blindness like the Pharisees. Thus, we need the grace of humility, a contrite heart ready to be corrected, and openness to new things. The Pharisee’s hard heart and pride prevented them to see the truth. Thus, the Lord said, “Let them alone; they are blind guides of the blind. And if one blind person guides another, both will fall into a pit.” (Matthew 15:14).
 
What comes out of your mouth most of the time? Are your words capable of healing people? Do you see the connection between the wellness of your heart and the words that come out of your lips?
 
– Pitik-Bulag
 
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August 4, 2020 – Saint John Vianney
Gospel Reading: Matthew 15: 1-2, 10-14

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