October 3

Reflection

Jesus told them,
“Because of the hardness of your hearts
he wrote you this commandment.” 
Mark 10: 2-16

Jesus had a manner of frankness and directness. He did not waste his energies or his time with protocols he felt were distracting the people from the real message of discipleship. He made it clear that it is much easier to observe the rituals and rules than to live the message of the Gospel, and it is much easier to be self-satisfied because we have covered all prescribed obligations than to live his radical message. It is easier to be pleasant than to be prophetic.  Jesus publicly disdained a superficial piety that avoided the conversion that leads to real inner change.

Prayer

Help me, O Lord, to follow you with honesty and self-knowledge.

Action

How do I view my own spiritual practice? In what do I base my pattern of living? Where do I see a divide between Christ’s message and its practice in our political and religious arenas? What would it mean if I answered the real challenge of Jesus’ teaching?

Suggested Reading

The Pharisees approached Jesus and asked,
“Is it lawful for a husband to divorce his wife?”
They were testing him.
Mark 10:2

Then the Pharisees and scribes asked him, Why do your disciples not walk according to the tradition of the elders, but eat bread with unwashed hands? He answered and said to them, Well has Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honors me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.”
Mark 7:1-13

People who are suffering right now are not into piety. They need to experience God through people.
Patricia Sullivan

Grown men can learn from very little children—for the hearts of little children are pure. Therefore, the Great Spirit may show them many things that older people miss.
Black Elk

And beware of showing hypocritical piety — piety that you do not really feel, and beware of showing piety on your face when you do not feel it in your heart.
Sufyān al-Thawrī

It’s easy to believe in the Way, and difficult to keep it.
Chinese Proverb

Being kind to someone, only to look kind to others, defeats the purpose of being kind.
Shannon L. Alder

Simple, sincere people seldom speak much of their piety. It shows itself in acts rather than in words, and has more influence than homilies or protestations.
Louisa May Alcott

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