Interior Transformation - Weekday Homily Video
When you hear Jesus quote Isaiah, “This people honors me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me …” it can give us pause to consider whether or not our profession of faith at Mass and our prayers are rooted in our love for God or are merely familiar words said without thinking.
The criticism leveled by the Pharisees and scribes against Jesus’ followers exposed the hypocrisy of the elite teachers of the Jewish faith.
By citing Isaiah, Jesus was reminding them of how some Israelites had lost a close and loving relationship with God. Their worship was merely going through the motions, participating in rituals that didn’t connect with an interior transformation of their hearts and minds.
In the process they altered the rituals and practices to their own liking. Jesus made this crystal clear when he said, “You disregard God’s commandment but cling to human tradition.”
Capital "T" Tradition
It’s important to distinguish between the capital “T” Tradition and the small “t” tradition that Jesus is speaking of in the gospel.
The former has to do with the authoritative teaching of the Apostles in the early Church, and, united with Scripture, is our Catholic faith. Capital “T” Tradition is always rooted in God.
What Jesus is criticizing is the attitude of the Pharisees and the scribes, what He refers to as human tradition that relied upon rituals that they modified for their own benefit and held others to, while failing to humbly and obediently listen to and act on God’s Word themselves.
Most likely, everyone hearing my words finds beauty in the liturgy of the Mass, the rituals and rites of the Catholic Church, and meaning in God’s Word and our prayers.
Still, at times, I think the challenge is to listen and speak with the attention and humility of beginners in the faith, as when we were children or adult converts to Catholicism. And to remember that God wants us to change and grow for the better in holiness and virtue through each prayer, Mass, Confession, and hearing of His Word. All of which are meant to speak to us and call us closer to Him.
Grounded in Love for God
In just over a week, we’ll begin the Lenten Season. Today’s gospel is a good starting point to remember that our prayer, fasting, and almsgiving are all to be grounded in our love for God, a love that, lived through these actions, opens us to being transformed as sons and daughters of the Father, made in His image, with the promise of His loving assistance.
Let us pray for one another to unite our will to God’s, to be attentive to His movement in our lives, and to be people of integrity, with Jesus as our foundational guide, in everything we say and do, whether at church, at home, or in our community.
- Father David's inspirational homily was recorded live during Mass at the Father Peyton Center this morning. Please view the video on our Facebook page. (You don't need a Facebook account to view.)
- To view the Rosary prayer and Mass streaming live, please visit our Facebook page at 11:30 a.m. Eastern, Monday – Friday. Please invite your loved ones to join us too! (If you are not a member of Facebook and a signup window appears, simply select the X at the top of the pop-up message and continue to the livestream.)
About Father David Marcham
Reverend David S. Marcham is the Vice Postulator for the Cause of Venerable Patrick Peyton, and Director of the Father Peyton Guild, whose members pray for Father Peyton’s beatification and spread his message of the importance of Family Prayer. Prior to becoming a seminarian, Father David was a physical therapist and clinical instructor, serving hospital inpatients and outpatients throughout the greater Boston area for eleven years. In 1998 he heard the call to priesthood and was ordained in the Archdiocese of Boston in 2005. Father David grew up in Quincy, MA, and has fond memories of playing soccer, tennis and running track. You’re never without a friend when Father David is around, as he welcomes everyone into his circle with a smile on his face!