Word for the day by Christian Education Forum
Senior Citizen Day – Care to the EldersMark 7:6-13
V10- “…Honour your father and mother… ”
The Happiest Man on Earth: The Beautiful Life of an Auschwitz Survivor, The book written by Eddie Jaku is one of the authentic and credible historical writing on the persecution that happened in the concentration camps of Germany during the Second World War. In the book, Eddie Jaku explains the beauty and blessedness of human life. After experiencing the worst that human history has ever witnessed he passed away at the age of 101 in 2021. In spite of all that life gave him, through his book, he defined himself as The Happiest Man on Earth. Jaku says “ Life won’t be happy always. Sometimes we may have to go through tough times. But remember one thing: You are alive! We are all lucky and blessed enough to be alive in this world. Every breath that we have is a gift. If you are ready you can make life beautiful. Joy and happiness of your life are at your hand on how you face it…”. The life of Eddie Jaku makes us learn that life lessons that one teaches out of his/her vast life experiences are the most valuable and non-replaceable. In such a way, Elder people in our life and society are always a blessing to guide us and hold us; when we go through the smoothness of the present: because they have been through the roughness of the past. So It is always important as a faith community to think and meditate upon the values of elder people in our life, that too in the light of the word of God.
1. Traditions of Caring(V6-V8)
The given passage is a response of Jesus Christ to certain critical questions by the Pharisees. Amidst exclusive questions; Jesus is giving inclusive answers. The Pharisees in today’s lesson ignore compelling evidence of Jesus’ power to do good and focus instead on the failure of his disciples to observe their traditions. They ignore the inbreaking of God’s power and focus on trivial concerns. The church today is similarly tempted to ignore its core ministry word and sacrament and focus instead on new fads in ministry. The Pharisees, out of a desire to obey God, established rules to clarify the law in those situations. Their findings became known as the tradition of the elders. As time passed, these traditions hardened into a surrogate law that Jewish leaders regarded as if it were scripture. They lost sight of the line between God’s law and human opinion.Their emphasis on human tradition sometimes caused them to neglect the underlying Torah law. As a faith community, we should develop our faith practices and faith expressions which ensure caring for the world. Growing in faith means being inclusive day by day in all the best ways possible. When Church ponders this day on Senior Citizens; our faith reflection should encourage traditions that give more inclusivity to the elder ones. And also the elder ones who are in the leading front of the church with their participation and experience all throughout the years should develop the traditions of caring for the younger ones and catering them forward into the life and ministry of the church in a more inclusive way. This text helps us and alarms us to shape our faith traditions with Jesus as expressions of more inclusiveness and care.
2. Traditions of Sharing (V9-V13)
In these verses, Jesus shows how his accusers, apparently devout men, use human tradition to sidestep one of the Ten Commandments ”Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land which Yahweh your God gives you” (Exodus 20:12). This commandment means, among other things, providing financial support to aging parents. In Jesus’ day, aging parents often transferred the property to their children, who then assumed responsibility for the parents’ welfare in their old age. Corban was a form of deferred giving, similar to today’s tax-avoidance scheme of transferring title to a charity now with the provision that we can continue to use the property until our death. In like manner, a person in Jesus’ day could declare something Corban - dedicated to God, and then tell his or her parents that their old-age support had been given to God. In truth, the property had only been promised to God, but that promise would give the adult child an excuse to dodge his or her obligation to their parents. It was treachery cloaked in religious garb. The religious establishment encouraged the practice because a portion of the deferred gift might end up in the religious treasury. The intention of traditions like Corban was ultimately to make sharing happen among family, people, and society through religious ethos. But it turned out to be traditions of exclusions and being itself as an excuse from being the instruments of sharing. What we are present today is because of the sharing that has been done by the earlier generations to us. Our ancestors shared their faith and faithful expressions through meaningful traditions of faith. It is our responsibility to check whether we are using our faith traditions for exclusions and excuses or for meaningful sharing of Life, Love, and Justice for the coming generation.
Traditions of Caring and Sharing will make the life of the elderly more meaningful when it is both given and received in a meaningful manner. It is a call of transformation to take it from Human traditions to the commandments of God. When traditions of caring and sharing with elders become honoring; it results ultimately in keeping the commandment of God...
Rev.Jibin Mathew Joy, Assistant Missionary
Mar Thoma Mission Narasapuram
Mar Thoma Mission Allagadda