22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

How can I be worthy, how can be pure before God. A fundamental question in the religious history of humanity. In the Gospel it seems the answer was wrong - a series of ritual washings had become not only an end in themselves but a cover for impurity and unworthiness.

Jesus response is more profound than simply a call to replace ritual and law with being a good person. If being a good person is all that matters, if we are the ones who make ourselves worthy and pure through our own actions, then we have no need of a saviour, no need of Jesus, no need of God. That is not the Catholic faith.

In the first reading the law offers wisdom. Knowledge not just of what things are but why they are, knowledge of the purpose of life and how we should live. This law is the Word of God, God's unchangeable command to Israel, but it is given in dialogue and closeness, the God who must be obeyed is the God who is close to Israel when they call upon him. The will of God, his law, purifies Israel, it makes them his chosen people, His closeness to them guides them.

We can see why Jesus says elsewhere in the Gospel 'I have not come to abolish the law but to fulfil it'. Jesus is the word, the will, the command of God, he purifies us, makes us worthy through his death and resurrection, uniting us in the Church through baptism, he speaks to us, listens to us and guides us, through the scriptures, the teaching of the Church and the Sacraments.

St James in the Epistle puts it in this way. All that is good comes from God, we are God's children, his word is in our souls, submit to it and become Christ like.

This is the understanding that comes from Wisdom, not thinking a slavish following of laws is enough, not thinking that just 'being good' is enough, rather recognising that we are talking about a relationship. Truth is a person, Jesus. Purity, worthiness, goodness comes through dialogue. It begins when Jesus, who is truth and purity and worthiness, when Jesus who is God, gives himself to us in love. If we respond in love, if we allow him to be part of us, then, based on his purity, worthiness and goodness we become pure, acceptable and good - and we are able to love and give ourselves with him.

Before all else we must consider our relationship with Jesus.

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Parochial Administrator: Fr Rob Morland SMA
Address: St Joseph's Presbytery, Portland Crescent, Manchester, M13 0BU
Call or text: 0757 528 8370
Email: rob.morland@dioceseofsalford.org.uk


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