Family Activity

Family Traditions and God's Love

Jesus and the Pharisees did not merely fight over hygiene. They fought over the means to spiritual purity. The Pharisees insisted purity meant being different from non-Jews, to act and live separately. Jews were to wash as a transition from contact with the secular world to a meal where God was present. For Jews, meal time was prayer time and community time. A time to be with God and his chosen people. Jesus, however, pointed away from rituals that defined religious life and focused upon the heart. For Jesus, this was the focal point of the spiritual life.

We still fight this battle today. Some show off their spiritual "maturity" through behaviors (gestures, prayer practices, habitual rituals). There is nothing wrong with these behaviors. In fact, they should be encouraged, but only as a means to an end, not as an end in themselves. Behaviors do not make us holy. A relationship with God does. That relationship begins with the heart.

During your family prayers, take a few moments and discuss God's love for your family. Tell them it's more important than anything you or your family could do for God. All the prayers or rituals or gestures in the world are useless if they mark points of pride. But, they have infinite value if they lead us to God and his loving heart.