The gospel of the day (Matthew 14, 35–36; 15, 1–11)

The interpretation of the law

35 And when the men of that place recognized Jesus, they sent word to all the surrounding country. People brought all their sick to him 36 and begged him to let the sick just touch the edge of his cloak, and all who touched it were healed.

That Which Defiles

15 Then some Pharisees and teachers of the law came to Jesus from Jerusalem and asked, “Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? They don’t wash their hands before they eat!”

Jesus replied, “And why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition? For God said, ‘Honor your father and mother’[a] and ‘Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death.’[b] But you say that if anyone declares that what might have been used to help their father or mother is ‘devoted to God,’ they are not to ‘honor their father or mother’ with it. Thus you nullify the word of God for the sake of your tradition. You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you:

“‘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.’[c]

10 Jesus called the crowd to him and said, “Listen and understand. 11 What goes into someone’s mouth does not defile them, but what comes out of their mouth, that is what defiles them.”

Pay attention to words!

Saint Gregory of Nyssa, About the love for poor and the good doing in Church Fathers and Writers (1998), vol. 30, p. 446

„(…) The useful word and the well thought answer must be given when it is due, it should not hit unexpectedly and in a rush those who are around, like hail

That fragile thread which ties the tongue of the bottom side of the chin is called rein so that the tongue should not say inappropriate and thoughtless words.

It should bless and not slander, it should chant and not defame, it should praise and not calumniate.`

Saint John Chrysostom, Homilies at Matthew, homily LI, V, in Church Fathers and Writers (1994), vol. 23, pp. 595-596

Guard your tongue more than the light of your eyes! The tongue is a royal horse, if you put a rein to it and teach it to go nicely the emperor will rest on it and sit on it but if you leave it to go without any rein and frolic, it becomes the cart of the devils.

Saint Basil the Great, The small rules, Î. 23, in Church Fathers and Writers (1989), vol. 18, pp. 326-327

Question 23: How many words are considered as vain speech?
Answer: Generally any word which doesn`t contribute to the need we have for God is vain. But the danger of speaking in vain is greater because even if what was said was good but if it doesn`t contribute to the strengthening of the faith the one who spoke is not protected by danger because of his good word and he saddens the Holy Spirit of God because the word was not constructive.

 (…) Is it any need to say how great is the harm of saddening the Holy Spirit of God?


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