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Radical Conservatives

**This people honors Me only with lip-service** (Mark. 7:6).
Deuteronomy 4:1-2,6,8; Psalms 15:2-5; James 1:17-18,21-22,27; Mark 7:1-8,14-15,21-23

Sermon Topic Hypocrisy

Sermon Week Twenty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time Cycle B

Scripture Summary Mark 7:6


We are all, of course, familiar with the religious tradition of reciting the Twenty-Third Psalm at graveside:

The Lord is my Shepherd;
I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures;
He leadeth me beside still water
He restorth my soul;
He leadeth me in the path of righteousness
for His Name's sake.

Yes, though I walk through the valley of the
hadow of death, I will fear no evil;
for Thou art with me;
Thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in
the presence of mine enemies;
Thou anointest my head with oil;
my cup runneth over,
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life;
and I will dwell in the House of the Lord forever!1

It's still summertime, still the season in which another human tradition of our time and culture is observed. I'm talking about baseball. With more than a passing nod to Scripture's Twenty-Third Psalm, one avid baseball fan has written a "Baseball Psalm"...

The Lord is my Manager;
I shall not quit.
He maketh me to run the green outfields.
He leadeth me along the straight basepaths.
He restorth my place in the heavenly lineup.
He leadeth me in reading secret signals,
for His game's sake.

Even though I walk in the valley of devilish
pitches, I will fear no strikeout, for Thou art with me.
Thy contracts and Thy bonuses,
they comfort me.

Thou anointest my sore spots with oil,
my locker runneth over.
Surely Your mercy over my errors
will follow me all the days of my life;
and I will dwell in the Hall of Fame forever.2

Ah, baseball! -- a most popular tradition!

In today's Gospel Lesson our attention is invited to a debate between Jesus and the Pharisees on some of the religious traditions of the time. Now, there is nothing wrong with being a traditionalist. Jesus was a traditionalist in His religious practices. He read the Scriptures. He worshipped and even preached in the synagogue. As a child, He had been circumcised and presented in the Temple, according to the Jewish Tradition. And yet, His fidelity to tradition was constantly being challenged by the Pharisees. In today's Gospel Lesson, they are at it again.

As you know, [...]

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