The WORD in other words (2021) by Fr. Atilano Corcuera, SVD (DWS, Tagaytay City)
Tuesday 5th Week in Ordinary Time
A woman visited a church to pray earnestly for the success of what she was about to do. She had planned for a long time for this undertaking, and the time had come to execute her strategy. The plan was to poison someone and make it look like a heart attack! This story is not far from that about the pickpocket who confessed to a priest and, while confessing, lifted the wallet of the priest.
Religious rituals are quite common, especially among Filipinos. We make the sign of the cross when passing by a church. We touch images of saints. We kneel. We welcome a sprinkling of holy water. As we perform these actions, however, may the words of Jesus in today’s Gospel not be applied to us! “This people honors me with their lips (and rituals), but their hearts are far from me.” (Mark 7, 6)
Prayers, gestures, movements, body positions are signs that point to realities behind them. These realities (attitudes) include adoration, thanksgiving, appreciation, love, and especially willingness to do what God wants us to do. Once these realities disappear, the signs and rituals lose their meaning.
Questions for reflections: when I make the sign of the cross, why do I make it? When I genuflect or bow before the Blessed Sacrament, do I feel adoration in my heart? Why do I come to Mass? Why do I touch holy images or statues?