Focusing the Gospel
Key words and phrases: Not follow the tradition, hearts are far from me, God's commandment, from within, from their hearts
Connecting the Gospel …
To the point: Central to this gospel is the question, where does the heart lie? Jesus teaches that observance of the Law and tradition is not an end in itself but an indication of where the heart lies.External actions reveal the internal desire to remain faithful to our covenantal relationship with God. Jesus calls us to the true purpose of the Law: a heart centered on God.
… to the First Reading: Moses' teaching about the wisdom of the Law reminds the people where the heart-of God lies: close to them. The purpose of our observance of the Law is to keep our hearts close to God. Jesus chides the Pharisees and scribes in the gospel for having strayed far from this understanding.'
… to experience: Laws become ends in themselves when we forget their real purpose. It's far easier simply to keep a law than it is to understand its purpose and make its spirit part of our values and life orientation.