1 Kings 8:22-30
Boy, Jesus lets the Pharisees and scribes have it in our gospel passage today. This time, the Pharisees and scribes take issue with the lack of purification procedures the Jews used before meals. Jesus of course sees right through their challenges. The act of purification and cleaning one’s hands before meals was intended to be representative of removing anything that distracts from the goodness of God.
There is no mention of washing one’s hands before eating in scripture, and Jesus knew that. The problem Jesus had, and has, is that the Pharisees made following the Mosaic Law for the sake of saying one is following the Mosaic Law the preeminent importance. Jesus rebukes the Pharisees and scribes because it is our relationship with God that is of supreme importance. The purification practices were absolutely fine with Jesus provided they were seen for what they should be, an act that removes any hindrance from our relationship with God. If you want to wash your hands to pause and recognize that it is God who provides our meals – great!
Jesus did not have a problem with the Mosaic Law, on the contrary, He came to fulfill the Law. Many people will say they have a problem with some teaching or regulation or rule of the Catholic Church. Every guidance of the Church is there to bring us closer in relationship with God, and nothing more.
So, today, is there some teaching or practice or rule of our faith with which you disagree? Don’t just dwell on it. Go find out the reason for it. The Catechism and Canon Laws of our faith are readily available online. And websites like Catholic Answers are a great resource for deriving the explanations to many questions.
Now go smile real big at God today!