Sunday in Ordinary Time – Year B
• List some of the rules you follow at
Allow time for the children to discuss what rules and laws they find
unreasonable as well as what rules and laws give them a sense of security.
Introduce that God has given us commands to follow so that we can live
Read Deuteronomy 4:1-2, 6-8.
In the gospel listen to what Jesus says about following God's Law within our hearts.
Read Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23.
• Why did the Pharisees criticize the disciples?
In the time of the Old Testament, the Chosen People had a very positive view of God's Laws. They viewed God's commands as a gift to help them live full and happy lives. Following God's law helped the people remain close to God. In today's reading from the Old Testament, Israel is asked to listen and obey specific decrees given to them by God. The benefits of doing so include the blessing of life in the Promised Land.
As time went on over the centuries, more specific laws were added to the original commandments given by God. In the gospel today, Jesus is unhappy with the Pharisees for rigidly following these laws. Jesus warns them against being concerned with the outward observance of laws without paying attention to what is within one's heart. When the Pharisees criticize the disciples for not keeping the laws of the tradition, Jesus calls them hypocrites.
Jesus encourages his followers not to be concerned with following laws outwardly, but to look within their hearts, because that is where good or evil comes from.
In today's gospel we learn that it is important for our actions to reflect
our beliefs. Jesus warns against observing laws only for the sake of
appearance. Instead we are encouraged to look within our hearts to see
how well we love one another.
Our ability to live morally and in harmony with God increases over a lifetime. For Christians a moral life is directed by the example of Jesus. Through our friendship with Jesus, the desire to be like him increases. Our relationship with Jesus helps guide us toward a life that is directed by God's Law.
• Make a list of the ways that you keep your conscience informed. For example, attending religious education classes, reading the bible, etc.
• What can you do this week to help you get to know Jesus better?