Tuesday, February 10, 2009
Feast of St. Scholastica
St. Scholastica was the twin sister of St. Benedict. What little we know about her life is found in St. Gregory the Great's book, the second Dialogue, which is an account of Benedict's miracles. It seems that she was buried in Benedict's own tomb where, soon after her death, he was also buried. She is the patroness of Benedictine nuns.
The Gospel today has the Pharisees and scribes gathered around Jesus and, as usual, criticizing because they saw that some of his disciples ate their meals without washing their hands. So they ask Jesus, "Why do your disciples not follow the tradition of the elders but instead eat a meal with unclean hands?"
Jesus responds: "Well did Isaiah prophesy about you hypocrites, as it is written:
This people honors me with their lips, but their heart are far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines human precepts."
Then Jesus went on to say, "How well you have set aside the commandment of God in order to uphold your tradition!" And he goes on to show them that they nullify the word of God in favor of their tradition.
This Gospel is one that I find rather terrifying. We do have the tendency to criticize! That is bad enough, but we then justify our actions, even to ignoring the commandments of God.
How often have I avoided something I know I should do by justifying myself with some custom or tradition that allows me to do what I want rather than what I know I should be doing?