GOSPEL, FIRST READING & PSALM TRANSCRIPT (Subscribe or Login for Full Transcript):
...we know from context that Jesus is not condemning all tradition because he himself elsewhere in the gospels commands his disciples to keep certain traditions. So for example in Matthew 23, I think this probably is the most helpful passage, in Matthew 23:1 Jesus says to the disciples:
The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses' seat; so practice and observe whatever they tell you, but not what they do; for they preach, but do not practice.
So for example, Jesus commands, in this case this is striking, he tells the disciples to follow the teachings of the Pharisees and scribes when they sit on Moses' seat. That means when they speak authoritatively from Moses, when they teach and interpret the Torah of Moses, but don't do what they do because they preach but they don’t practice. So don’t be hypocrites like them. So Jesus has a respect for Jewish tradition. He himself is going to follow it when they go down to the Temple to celebrate the Passover, for example, and he celebrates Passover with a glass of wine, right, a cup of wine. There's no mention of wine in the Old Testament for celebrating the Passover, it was part of Jewish tradition, but Jesus keeps that. So there are certain traditions that he exhorts the apostles to keep, but there are other traditions that undermine the commandments of God, like the Corban tradition, and those he says he rejects. Or other traditions which, like the washing of hands, which are neither here nor there, they don't matter at the end of the day because they don't get to the heart of the matter. Scholars use the word adiafora for that, they are incidentals, you can give them or you can take them, you can take them or leave them. Paul will say this in his letters to Romans for example.
But then there are certain traditions which are binding. And so again we interpret, whenever we look at a passage in the Bible, we interpret it in context and in 2 Thessalonians 2:15, Paul says to the Christians, “stand firm and hold fast to the traditions,” paradosis
, same word Jesus uses, “which you have heard from us, whether by word of mouth or by letter.” So St. Paul, inspired by the Holy Spirit, elsewhere in the New Testament says we actually do have to keep the traditions, whether they’re written or they’re oral, as long as they’re from the apostles. So apostolic tradition has to be kept. So in essence, what's going on here is we need to make the distinction between a tradition of men which contradicts the word of God, Jesus condemns that, and an apostolic tradition which is guided by the Holy Spirit and given to the church as binding, whether in written or oral form. Those traditions we have to keep, right. Now you might think okay, well, how am I supposed to know which traditions are apostolic and which ones are man-made? Which ones are permanent and binding and which ones can be changed, or can be dispensed with? Well you know that by the living authority of the church herself. The reason Christ institutes a church with leaders like the apostles, Peter and James and John, is so that the living authorities, the apostles and their successors, can discern through the Holy Spirit what elements of Sacred Tradition are permanent and binding and what aspects of Christian life and worship are customs, or little “T” traditions, that can come and go.
So the best statement I know of this is from the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
If you have
the Catechism you can look at paragraph 83...
SECOND READING TRANSCRIPT (Subscribe or Login for Full Transcript):
...And we’re beginning a journey through one of my favorite letters in the New testament, and that is the letter of James.
So without any further ado, we’re going to dive into the second reading for this 22nd Sunday. It’s from the first letter — or not the first letter, the only letter — from James in the New Testament, chapter 1. The lectionary here gives us an excerpted passage from verses 17-18, 21-22, and then it skips on down to 27. So I’m going to work through those with you here, and then we’ll try to unpack them and shed some light on them. So the reading says this...
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