Week 22 Year B Homilies

Mass Readings

Reading 1 – Deuteronomy 4:1-2, 6-8
Psalm – Psalm 15:2-5
Reading 2 – James 1:17-18, 21-22, 27
Gospel – Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23

LAW AND LAWS by Bishop Barron

Summary — All of today’s readings pertain to law. We Americans are a fairly litigious society. Lawyers are thick on the ground and many of our Founding Fathers were students of law. We have a kind of love-hate relationship with the law, like most people in history. Today’s readings offer a key lesson: whenever we reverence something, we surround it with laws. Laws protect the integrity of good things. And for the saints, the law of God is planted within their hearts.

  • Something in us balks at the law. We are also very litigious = founding fathers were lawyers. We hate & love the law.
  • Would anyone that loves baseball we content without playing by the rules = no, b/c they preserve the integrity of the game. Rulebook of the game of golf too. Those who love the game of golf love the rules. They get rather annoyed when you disobey the rules.
  • So God gives us laws. to protect integrity of moral & spiritual life.
  • “Humbly welcome the word that is implanted in you and able to save your life” ~ James 2nd reading
  • You want to lure people into the structure & beauty of the laws. Same in spiritual life = protect & enhance integrity of that life.
  • The word of God must be implanted in us = great golfer doesn’t need to consult rule book, b/c rules are implanted in him & integrated into his worldview.
  • So saints have the law of God planted in them = not an external imposition, but coming up from the very root of their being.
  • Write the law not on tablets but in our hearts!
  • Never accept the silly logic of lawlessness – so the Bible sings its praises.
  • NOW WE COME TO THE GOSPEL = now we see Jesus witnessing to the shadow side of the law, a legalism, a missing of the forest for the trees, a confusion of the essential & the peripheral. Jesus rails against scribes & Pharisees.
  • HOW DO WE MAKE THIS DISTINCTION? When rules too complicated, it undermines the game. Laws can get too thick. Medieval knight suit of armour, put on too much, very thing that is meant to protect him becomes the thing that threatens him.
  • ALSO, Multiplicity of laws makes it hard to distinguish between heart of law & peripheral laws.
  • The heart of the law = Love God & Love Neighbour! Use this law as criterion to judge the others. Love the law but don’t allow it to stifle the essence of the spiritual life.

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