Tuesday of the 5th week in ordinary time
1 Kings 8: 22-23.27-30 Mark 7: 1-13
Theme: Authentic witnessing
Today the church celebrates the memorial of St. Paul Miki a Jesuit and his 25 companions who were martyred at Nagasaki in Japan. These were young people who willingly gave their lives for their faith in God. They were all seriously tortured before they were Martyred. The assertion of St. Paul Miki clearly shows the faith of one who is convinced about the choice he made for Christ. He said, “The only reason for my being killed is that I have taught the doctrine of Christ. I thank God that it is for this reason that I die”. The faith of our Ancestors in faith continues to challenge us to bear authentic witness to our faith in Christ in our own time. By implication, hypocrisy should have no place in our lives as Christians and children of God at any point in time.
This is the same situation that is presented to us today in St. Marks gospel, Jesus had to lecture the Pharisees and Scribes, who are emphasizing their culture and tradition in a way that it suits them and at the detriment of both the common people and the word of God. They live a life that is hypocritical, and emphasize the things that should not be emphasized, while the things that should be emphasized are not. The prophecy of Isaiah that says, “This people honour me with their mouth and their hearts are far from me”, is the reality, even in our own time. What is most important to many Christians today is the external show that people see, while their real lifestyle is hidden from the public view.
In view of this, we live our lives to impress people, we create a public image that is not real and true about us, while our true image is hidden from most of the people. What we seem not to understand is the fact that we cannot deceive everyone with the deceptive lifestyle that we have chosen for ourselves externally. There will always be somebody or some people who truly know us for who we are. This is exactly the situation that plays out in the gospel reading of today from St. Mark, between Jesus and the Scribes and Pharisees. As usual, Jesus used the opportunity to lecture them and pointed out the fact that hypocritical life is not good for us.
St. Paul Miki and his companions whose memorial we celebrate today, lived an authentic life, and stood for their faith in God, can you also do the same, going forward? May the Lord bless you, in the name of the father and of the son and of the holy spirit, Amen. Peace be with you.