As a young boy, I remember my mother insisting we boys wash our hands before eating a meal. Mother knows best. Right?
Today Jesus is challenging the Pharisees and scribes who are playing mother with the Law of Moses. And Jesus cuts to the heart of the matter.
“(In Jesus’ day) Hands were washed NOT for reasons of hygiene or good manners but because the custom had religious significance: it was a rite of purification… (In today’s Gospel) Jesus restores the genuine meaning of these precepts of the Law, whose purpose is to teach the right way to render homage to God (cf. Jn 4:24).”
Judgement is what is driving Jesus’ critics. He is calling out the impurity of their unclean hearts. Hearts that are more focused on their own self-righteousness and self-justification, than on honoring God with their rituals.
Jesus proves himself again as being the authentic interpreter of the Law. Much to the chagrin of the Pharisees and scribes, and their false piety and lip service to the Law.
Our actions should always honor our relationship with God. Not just adhere to the judgment and approval of others.
I leave you with this question for reflection: What is lurking in our unclean hearts in need of Christ’s attention?
Let us ask Jesus to cleanse our hearts of these impurities.