February 12, 2019
Tuesday, 5th Week in Ordinary Time
Gospel: Mk 7:1–13
One day the Pharisees gathered around Jesus and with them were some teachers of the Law who had just come from Jerusalem.They noticed that some of his disciples were eating their meal with unclean hands, that is, without washing them. Now the Pharisees, and in fact, all the Jews, never eat without washing their hands for they follow the tradition received from their ancestors. Nor do they eat anything when they come from the market without first washing themselves. And there are many other traditions they observe, for example, the ritual washing of cups, pots and plates.So the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law asked him, “Why do your disciples not follow the tradition of the elders, but eat with unclean hands?”Jesus answered, “You, shallow people! How well Isaiah prophesied of you when he wrote: This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. The worship they offer me is worthless, for what they teach are only human rules. You even put aside the commandment of God to hold fast to human tradition.”And Jesus commented, “You have a fine way of disregarding the commandment of God in order to implant your own tradition. For example, Moses said: Do your duty to your father and your mother, and: Whoever curses his father or his mother is to be put to death. But according to you someone could say to his father or mother: ‘I already declared Corban, which means “offered to God,” what you could have expected from me.’ In this case, you no longer let him do anything for a father or mother. So you nullify the word of God through the tradition you have handed on. And you do many other things like that.”
(Daily Gospel in the Assimilated Life Experience)
“Corban” refers to the old Jewish custom of dedicating personal resources to the Temple. This had the effect of exempting these Temple donors even from their duty to support their parents on the ground that their resources already belonged to God. But here’s the anomaly: they were still free to use these resources for their own enjoyment. Jesus saw in this practice the cunning way of circumventing the Mosaic Law on parental support especially at old age.
While we do not have Corban under our jurisdiction, we have anti-mendicancy ordinances. We use these to appease our conscience each time we refuse to help, as if these ordinances were meant to outlaw charity. There will always be legal ways to share our hard-earned money. The bottom line is: A heart of generosity always finds a way to help, but a selfish one always finds a “corban”. – (Atty.) Rev. Fr. Dan Domingo P. delos Angeles, Jr., DM.
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