The Gospel of the day (Mark 6, 54-56; 7, 1-8)

The commandment of God and the human custom

54 As soon as they got out of the boat, people recognized Jesus. 55 They ran throughout that whole region and carried the sick on mats to wherever they heard he was. 56 And wherever he went—into villages, towns or countryside—they placed the sick in the marketplaces. They begged him to let them touch even the edge of his cloak, and all who touched it were healed.

The Pharisees and some of the teachers of the law who had come from Jerusalem gathered around Jesus and saw some of his disciples eating food with hands that were defiled, that is, unwashed. (The Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they give their hands a ceremonial washing, holding to the tradition of the elders. When they come from the marketplace they do not eat unless they wash. And they observe many other traditions, such as the washing of cups, pitchers and kettles.[a])

So the Pharisees and teachers of the law asked Jesus, “Why don’t your disciples live according to the tradition of the elders instead of eating their food with defiled hands?”

He replied, “Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written:

“‘These people honor me with their lips,
    but their hearts are far from me.
They worship me in vain;
    their teachings are merely human rules.’[b]

You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to human traditions.”

The beauty of the soul

Saint John Chrysostom, Homilies at Matthew, homily XXXIV, V, in Church Fathers and Writers (1994), vol. 23, pp. 428-429

If the soul gives to the body so much beauty and life it is due to the fact that the soul is much valuable than the body. If the soul preserves the body which is so ugly then it preserves itself even more. Not the body is beautiful, but its structure and the blossom the soul colors the body with. Therefore love the soul which makes the body to be so beautiful! Nothing is more beautiful, nothing is more pleasant than the beauty of the soul. Physical love is accompanied by pain; the spiritual love is pure and untroubled. Who is the man to admire the herald and not the emperor? Who is the man who marvels at the translator and not at the philosopher? Have you seen a pair of beautiful eyes? Seek to find how the eyes of the soul are. If those are not beautiful, despise them!

You will never fall in love with an ugly woman, who put a beautiful mask on her face and you won`t stand to see a woman with a nice face covering with a mask her beauty, you take off her mask and want to see her beauty in all her splendor. Do the same with the soul and seek to know it first. The soul is covered by the body like with a mask. For this reason the body remains what it is. The soul if it lacks beauty can easily become beautiful. If the eye of the soul is ugly, rough and dark, it may become beautiful, peaceful, quiet, sweet and friendly. Let us seek this beauty. Let us adorn our face with this beauty so that God may like our beauty and give us the eternal goods.


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