Deuteronomy 4:1-2, 6-8
F1. “What great nation has statutes and decrees that are as just as this whole law which I am setting before you today?” Can you answer Moses’ question? What makes a law just? Can you state the law in one sentence, as Jesus did?
F2. Discuss some human rights issues that would change if everyone in the world observed the law? How might your community or your work place change?
James 1:17-18, 21b-22, 27
S1. James says the law is planted in us. Would you like to see it planted in your mind or in your heart? What difference would it make? Discuss Karl Rahner’s statement: “In the heart of knowledge stands love, from which knowledge itself lives.”*
S2. Are you a hearer of the word or are you also a doer of it? Name some times when you just “talked the talk” but did not want to “walk the walk.”
Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23
G1. Pope Francis remarks on the danger of legalism.
In the Gospel, those who met Christ with a spirit of prophecy welcomed him as the Messiah, but without it, the void that is left is occupied by clericalism; and it is this clericalism that asks Jesus, ‘By what authority do you do these things? By what law? ... A prophet reminds the people of God to move beyond a spirit of legality. Lord, let us not forget your promise. Let us not grow tired of going forward. Let us not close ourselves in with legality.
Pope Francis homily at St. Martha Guest House Chapel,
December 17, 2013
The Pharisees questioned Jesus with some smugness, about how his disciples were not keeping the law. In Luke 20:2 and Mark 11:27 they wanted to know what authority he had for acting the way he did. After reading Sunday’s Gospel and Francis’ remarks, what do you think are the main hazards of what he calls “clericalism”?
G2. What was missing from the Pharisees’ observance of the law? How much is religious observance worth if it is just exterior? On the other hand, what is that worth if what you do comes from the Word living in your heart, whether it’s fishing or fasting?
**From Saint Louis University