Memorial of Saint John Mary Vianney- Patron Saint of Parish Priests
Bible Text: “The disciples said to Jesus, do you know that the Pharisees took offence when they heard what you said?” Matthew 15. 1-2, 10-14
The gospel is a confrontational encounter between Jesus and the Pharisees. The Pharisees had criticized what the disciples did that they did not wash their hands before eating. For them it is not just a hygienic issue but it is against the torah and therefore a transgression of the law of God. Jesus felt that He has the obligation to correct their wrong interpretation of the law so He waged those hurting words against them. It is not what comes into our mouth that defiles us but what comes out from our hearts. With his constructive criticism, they were greatly offended.
We have the tendency to be silent because we don't want to hurt someone's feelings that's why even if he is doing wrong or irrational and illogical, we' will just be quiet so that there will be no trouble or talk and so no one will get hurt but not Jesus. He will tell if it is wrong. He will correct it even if it will break ones heart. It is better for him to hurt his feelings than to pretend that everything is fine and to contradict wrong deeds and reasoning. He has opposed the superficial sanctification of the Pharisees and scribes that they tried to impose to people. They are blind and they will both fall for both of them blind. They love outdoor beauty as a basis of holiness. True holiness is founded in the heart. Whatever comes out from it is the basis whether it is holy or not. One clue of heart disposition is the words that come out of the mouth. That's where the contents of the mind and the heart will be obvious. Is this all cheap and angry, insulting and criticizing, gossip and lies, lewdness and rudeness? The one who has divine will words of love, truth and conviction are the one who blows the mouth. It hurts sometimes but it causes real freedom.
Now that we are celebrating the Memorial of Saint John Mary Vianney, may he intercede for us priests to help the faithful liberate themselves by accepting the truth even if it hurts.
Let us ask the Lord that we may we accept the truth that will set us free even if it hurts.