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Joseph honours his father by promising to take his body from Egypt in order to bury him with his ancestors.

The Pharisees on the other hand, failed to obey the commandments, choosing instead to follow their own traditions and then they criticised Jesus’ disciples for not following the rituals such as washing their hands before eating a meal.

Jesus responds by calling the Pharisees hypocrites, telling them that it is not what they put into their mouth that defiles them, for this soon ends up in the sewer! No, it is what comes OUT of their bodies: thoughts, words and deeds that are first formed in the heart that makes them unclean.

The same is true today. We may, quite rightly follow the traditions and rituals of the Church: attending Mass on Sundays, abstaining from meat on Fridays, fasting on Ask Wednesday and Good Friday. But all these acts are completely wasted if we return to our old lives immediately afterwards, gossiping about our neighbour, stealing from our employers and undertaking all those other deeds which we often find so easy to justify.

We should pray often as Jesus taught us, not to be lead into temptation and to be delivered from evil. Then we will be ‘free of guilt and innocent of great sin’.

Scripture: Genesis 46:1-47:31; Matthew 15:1-28; Psalm 19:1-14; Proverbs 4:14-19

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