10/31/2017 – Love Always Trumps Tradition – Pr. Noleen Mendes
For you ignore God’s law and substitute your own tradition.” – Mark 7:8
The Pharisees were stuck to traditions like opihi is stuck to rocks. You need to really pry them with a tool in order to get them separated. Unfortunately, there was nothing that could pry the Pharisees from their traditions. Not even the wise words of Jesus! The tragedy of these kinds of traditions is that it has the tendency to create walls between people. The example Jesus gave was a perfect one: they would neglect the care of their parents for the sake of tradition.
The Catholic Church was steeped in tradition. However, at our little parish where I grew up, we had a very liberal priest who introduced open confession and allowed the common person to open the tabernacle, something that was totally against the “rules.”
Another rule was that no outsider could receive communion. But not for our priest! He broke the tradition and allowed the Rev. David Kaapu of Haili Church to receive communion at a celebration of life service. Because of his very liberal approach, the congregation loved him and, he was able to serve at our little church for almost 30 years, unprecedented in the Catholic Church.
As we read the Gospels, we find that, from time to time, Jesus moved away from Jewish traditions, especially when they stood in the way of helping others. For Jesus, love always trumped tradition. Since the word tradition means: to give or hand over from close-beside, passing on from one generation to the next, I think it is safe to say that Jesus’ tradition was loving people. This tradition had been passed down to us when He poured out His love on the Cross. As I now live to be more like Christ, this tradition of loving people has to be a lot more prevalent in my life. It’s the only way to break down barriers and invite people into the Kingdom.
Father God, help me to be more in tune with loving people like Jesus loved people. Holy Spirit, when I am operating out of traditions or rules when I should be operating out of love, please quicken me towards love. Let the tradition of Love be the norm in my life. In Jesus Name, Amen!!