Deacon Steven Johnson’s Homily 2-7-23

Fourth Week of Ordinary Time, Tuesday, 2-7-23, Year A
Readings: First Reading Gen 1:20-2:4a; Ps 8:4-9; Gospel Mk 7:1-13
Theme: Tradition for the Sake of Tradition

How many things do we do today because it has traditionally always been done that way? Have you ever thought of something you do every day and wondered why you do it that way, where it came from, or what it means? Doing something for the sake of itself is routine, where we just go through the motions day in and day out without ever asking why. Sometimes, we need to be reminded to check these traditions against God’s standard, His Son Jesus.

There was an episode of “All in the Family” called, “Sock and a Sock, Shoe and a Shoe,” where Archie Bunker was watching his son-in-law, Meathead, put on his socks and shoes. Meathead proceeded to put on one sock and one shoe on one foot, then he started to do the same on the other.

Archie, in his brash, judgmental way, interrupts him and says, “Wait a minute, what are you doing? That’s not right. You don’t put a sock and shoe and a sock and shoe on. You put on a sock and sock and then a shoe and shoe on.” Meathead, looking confused, said, “Why?” Archie explains, “You meathead, if an emergency happens while getting dressed, putting a sock and sock on first means both your feet are covered when you run outside.” Meathead replies, “Oh yeah? What if it’s raining or snowing outside, both my feet would get wet doing it your way. With my way, I can hop around on one foot and both my feet will stay dry.”

Seriously though, sometimes we can get so caught up in our traditions or routines that we forget why we do what we do. We no longer think about what is right and good and that the old way of doing things may not be the best way. We can forget the meaning behind that tradition and over time, allow it to become a routine we do because that is just what we do.

The laws and precepts set up by the Jewish faith from the days of Moses took on a meaning all its own. It became about tradition for the sake of tradition. The meaning of those actions and requirements was lost centuries ago. The law (tradition) became its own god and the people forgot about the creator of those laws, God Himself.

Do we find ourselves doing things for the sake of doing them without really understanding the meaning of those actions? Be careful, they may be leading you away from God instead of toward Him.

As we have learned from the Book of Genesis today, God created everything. With this in mind, it only makes sense that everything we do in this life should be done for the love of Him.

Tradition, for the sake of Tradition, is no tradition at all if it is not focused on God alone.

Published by St. James, Belvidere

Saint James Catholic Church, Belvidere, IL