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Day 157 – Following Jesus


Thoughts and Reflection

Today we read Jesus rebukes the Pharisees for rejecting the commandments of God in favor of their traditions. For example, God commands them to honor their father and mother by taking care of them in their old age. Some Pharisees allowed people to make a donation to the Temple in their Parents’ name to exempt them from serving them. We are good at creating our own versions of what God is asking of us rather than doing what we know he wants.

We also read of a woman who comes to Jesus and asks him to heal her daughter who is possessed by a demon. Jesus tells her he is there to save the Jews first. She persists in her requests. She knows Jesus comes from God and that God loves all who belong to him. Like this woman, we do not approach God with a sense of entitlement. We do not deserve his grace; we know it is a gift.

Is there an area in which you are not living the way God wants you too?

About This Project

For the year 2022, I decided that my New Year’s Resolution was to read the whole Bible following the Bible in the Year plan presented by Fr. Mike Schmitz. It is a big and bold undertaking. You can follow along by subscribing. Feel free to look at previous day’s post and comment. It’s something we can all learn from together!

Daily Readings

Mark 7

1 The Pharisees and some of the scribes who had come from Jerusalem gathered round him,

2 and they noticed that some of his disciples were eating with unclean hands, that is, without washing them.

3 For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, keep the tradition of the elders and never eat without washing their arms as far as the elbow;

4 and on returning from the market place they never eat without first sprinkling themselves. There are also many other observances which have been handed down to them to keep, concerning the washing of cups and pots and bronze dishes.

5 So the Pharisees and scribes asked him, ‘Why do your disciples not respect the tradition of the elders but eat their food with unclean hands?’

6 He answered, ‘How rightly Isaiah prophesied about you hypocrites in the passage of scripture: This people honours me only with lip-service, while their hearts are far from me.

7 Their reverence of me is worthless; the lessons they teach are nothing but human commandments.

8 You put aside the commandment of God to observe human traditions.’

9 And he said to them, ‘How ingeniously you get round the commandment of God in order to preserve your own tradition!

10 For Moses said: Honour your father and your mother, and, Anyone who curses father or mother must be put to death.

11 But you say, “If a man says to his father or mother: Anything I have that I might have used to help you is Korban (that is, dedicated to God),”

12 then he is forbidden from that moment to do anything for his father or mother.

13 In this way you make God’s word ineffective for the sake of your tradition which you have handed down. And you do many other things like this.’

14 He called the people to him again and said, ‘Listen to me, all of you, and understand.

15 Nothing that goes into someone from outside can make that person unclean; it is the things that come out of someone that make that person unclean.

16 Anyone who has ears for listening should listen!’

17 When he had gone into the house, away from the crowd, his disciples questioned him about the parable.

18 He said to them, ‘Even you — don’t you understand? Can’t you see that nothing that goes into someone from outside can make that person unclean,

19 because it goes not into the heart but into the stomach and passes into the sewer?

20 And he went on, ‘It is what comes out of someone that makes that person unclean.

21 For it is from within, from the heart, that evil intentions emerge: fornication, theft, murder,

22 adultery, avarice, malice, deceit, indecency, envy, slander, pride, folly.

23 All these evil things come from within and make a person unclean.’

24 He left that place and set out for the territory of Tyre. There he went into a house and did not want anyone to know he was there; but he could not pass unrecognised.

25 At once a woman whose little daughter had an unclean spirit heard about him and came and fell at his feet.

26 Now this woman was a gentile, by birth a Syro-Phoenician, and she begged him to drive the devil out of her daughter.

27 And he said to her, ‘The children should be fed first, because it is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to little dogs.’

28 But she spoke up, ‘Ah yes, sir,’ she replied, ‘but little dogs under the table eat the scraps from the children.’

29 And he said to her, ‘For saying this you may go home happy; the devil has gone out of your daughter.’

30 So she went off home and found the child lying on the bed and the devil gone.

31 Returning from the territory of Tyre, he went by way of Sidon towards the Lake of Galilee, right through the Decapolis territory.

32 And they brought him a deaf man who had an impediment in his speech; and they asked him to lay his hand on him.

33 He took him aside to be by themselves, away from the crowd, put his fingers into the man’s ears and touched his tongue with spittle.

34 Then looking up to heaven he sighed; and he said to him, ‘Ephphatha,’ that is, ‘Be opened.’

35 And his ears were opened, and at once the impediment of his tongue was loosened and he spoke clearly.

36 And Jesus ordered them to tell no one about it, but the more he insisted, the more widely they proclaimed it.

37 Their admiration was unbounded, and they said, ‘Everything he does is good, he makes the deaf hear and the dumb speak.’

Mark 8

1 And now once again a great crowd had gathered, and they had nothing to eat. So he called his disciples to him and said to them,

2 ‘I feel sorry for all these people; they have been with me for three days now and have nothing to eat.

3 If I send them off home hungry they will collapse on the way; some have come a great distance.’

4 His disciples replied, ‘Where could anyone get these people enough bread to eat in a deserted place?’

5 He asked them, ‘How many loaves have you?’ And they said to him, ‘Seven.’

6 Then he instructed the crowd to sit down on the ground, and he took the seven loaves, and after giving thanks he broke them and began handing them to his disciples to distribute; and they distributed them among the crowd.

7 They had a few small fishes as well, and over these he said a blessing and ordered them to be distributed too.

8 They ate as much as they wanted, and they collected seven basketfuls of the scraps left over.

9 Now there had been about four thousand people. He sent them away

10 and at once, getting into the boat with his disciples, went to the region of Dalmanutha.

11 The Pharisees came up and started a discussion with him; they demanded of him a sign from heaven, to put him to the test.

12 And with a profound sigh he said, ‘Why does this generation demand a sign? In truth I tell you, no sign shall be given to this generation.’

13 And, leaving them again, he re-embarked and went away to the other side.

14 The disciples had forgotten to take any bread and they had only one loaf with them in the boat.

15 Then he gave them this warning, ‘Keep your eyes open; look out for the yeast of the Pharisees and the yeast of Herod.’

16 And they said to one another, ‘It is because we have no bread.’

17 And Jesus knew it, and he said to them, ‘Why are you talking about having no bread? Do you still not understand, still not realise? Are your minds closed?

18 Have you eyes and do not see, ears and do not hear? Or do you not remember?

19 When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many baskets full of scraps did you collect?’ They answered, ‘Twelve.’

20 ‘And when I broke the seven loaves for the four thousand, how many baskets full of scraps did you collect?’ And they answered, ‘Seven.’

21 Then he said to them, ‘Do you still not realise?’

22 They came to Bethsaida, and some people brought to him a blind man whom they begged him to touch.

23 He took the blind man by the hand and led him outside the village. Then, putting spittle on his eyes and laying his hands on him, he asked, ‘Can you see anything?’

24 The man, who was beginning to see, replied, ‘I can see people; they look like trees as they walk around.’

25 Then he laid his hands on the man’s eyes again and he saw clearly; he was cured, and he could see everything plainly and distinctly.

26 And Jesus sent him home, saying, ‘Do not even go into the village.’

27 Jesus and his disciples left for the villages round Caesarea Philippi. On the way he put this question to his disciples, ‘Who do people say I am?’

28 And they told him, ‘John the Baptist, others Elijah, others again, one of the prophets.’

29 ‘But you,’ he asked them, ‘who do you say I am?’ Peter spoke up and said to him, ‘You are the Christ.’

30 And he gave them strict orders not to tell anyone about him.

31 Then he began to teach them that the Son of man was destined to suffer grievously, and to be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes, and to be put to death, and after three days to rise again;

32 and he said all this quite openly. Then, taking him aside, Peter tried to rebuke him.

33 But, turning and seeing his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said to him, ‘Get behind me, Satan! You are thinking not as God thinks, but as human beings do.’

34 He called the people and his disciples to him and said, ‘If anyone wants to be a follower of mine, let him renounce himself and take up his cross and follow me.

35 Anyone who wants to save his life will lose it; but anyone who loses his life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it.

36 What gain, then, is it for anyone to win the whole world and forfeit his life?

37 And indeed what can anyone offer in exchange for his life?

38 For if anyone in this sinful and adulterous generation is ashamed of me and of my words, the Son of man will also be ashamed of him when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.’

Psalm 23

1 [Psalm Of David] Yahweh is my shepherd, I lack nothing.

2 In grassy meadows he lets me lie. By tranquil streams he leads me

3 to restore my spirit. He guides me in paths of saving justice as befits his name.

4 Even were I to walk in a ravine as dark as death I should fear no danger, for you are at my side. Your staff and your crook are there to soothe me.

5 You prepare a table for me under the eyes of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup brims over.

6 Kindness and faithful love pursue me every day of my life. I make my home in the house of Yahweh for all time to come.


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