SEE Matthew 15:1-9; Mark 7:1-13

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THE TRADITIONS OF THE PHARISEES (Matthew 15:1-9; Mark 7:1-13)

Then the Pharisees and some of the scribes who had come from Jerusalem gathered around him, and they noticed that some of his disciples were eating with unclean hands; that is, without washing them. For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, keep the tradition of the elders and never eat without washing their arms as far as the elbow; and on returning from the marketplace they never eat without first sprinkling themselves. There are many other observances that have been handed down to them to keep, concerning the washing of cups and pots and bronze dishes. Therefore, the Pharisees and scribes asked him, “Why do your disciples break away from and not respect the tradition of the elders but they eat their food without washing their hands.” He answered, “And why do you break away from the commandment of God for the sake of your human tradition? For God said, Honor your father and your mother so that you may live long in the land that Yahweh your God is giving you (Exodus 20:12) and anyone who curses father or mother will be put to death. (Exodus 21:17) However, you say, “If a man says to his father or mother, “Anything I might have used to help you is dedicated to God,” then he is forbidden from that moment to do anything for his father or mother.” In this way, you have made God’s word ineffective for the sake of your tradition, which you have handed down. Hypocrites! How rightly Isaiah prophesied about you hypocrites in the passage of scripture when he said: The Lord then said: Because this people approaches me only in words, honors me only with lip-service while their hearts are far from me, and reverence for me, as far as they are concerned, is nothing but human commandment, a lesson memorized. (Isaiah 29:13) And you do many other things like this.”

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