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Deuteronomy 4:1-2,6-8; Psalm 15; James 1:17-18, 21b-22,27; Mark 7:1-8,14-15,21-23

Someone said that if you want to understand the Jewish people, you should read the Book of Deuteronomy straight through five times. Every aspect of life is governed by the law of the Lord, and a beautiful law it is for the most part. There is compassion for the stranger, for widows and children, for the poor. There is respect – awe, really – for the Lord. Understand and live the law, and you will be pleasing to God. But there is always a danger in following the law, any law. If the law and its following are not based on love, then legalism creeps in, and the law becomes an end in itself and overshadows the reason for its being: the relationship with God and neighbor. If we follow the law – the law of Moses, the canon law of the Church, the law of our land – to the letter but without compassion and understanding, we will be like the hypocrites that Jesus condemns: “This people honors me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.”

How do you see the relationship between following the law and being a disciple?