August 29, 2021
Ana Cloughly, OSB, Sisters of Benet Hill Monastery, Colorado Springs, CO
Cleanliness is close to godliness.
Today we hear the Pharisees and scribes challenging Jesus about the behavior of his disciples. They are not following the traditions of cleanliness. The laws, observances, statutes, and decrees found in the Pentateuch are much more than a set of rules for the Jewish people. They shape a way of life in much the same way as the teachings of Jesus in the gospels and by extension, the Rule of St. Benedict shapes our lives. Boys and sometime girls learned to live these mandates from God primarily in their home, at the synagogue, and in some places Torah school. So, for Jesus’ disciples to disregard the cleanliness tradition was problematic. For the Pharisees and scribes observing both the laws and the tradition was a mark of a true teacher. Disregarding the cleanliness observances diminished Jesus’ credibility as a teacher.