In today’s first reading from 1 Kings 8, Solomon stand before the altar in the magnificent temple that he had built and offers up a prayer to God. This is a beautiful prayer, and I encourage you to read it. In our Gospel reading from Mark 7, we hear Jesus comdemning tradition.
Catholics believe that divine revelation has been handed on to the Church through Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition. Those who try to refute Catholicism will point to today’s Gospel passage as proof that the Catholic Church is in error. Uh…not so fast. Look carefully at the reading, and what Jesus was condemning. The Pharisees and scribes were allowing people to stop taking care of their parents, as long as they gave their money to the temple. This went against the Fourth Commandment, “Honor your father and your mother.” This did not sit well with Jesus.
Sacred, or Apostolic Tradition (notice the capital “T”) is the oral teachings of Christ given to the Apostles. The first generation of Christians had no written New Testament. They learned the faith through Apostolic Tradition. Remember, the New Testament was not even codified until the end of the 4th century. The Apostles handed on their teachings to their successors, which has continued for 2000 years, to this very day. (To see what St. Paul said about tradition, see 1 Corinthians 11:2, 2 Thessalonians 2:15 and 2 Thessalonians 3:6.)
Father, we thank you for revealing all truth to your Church through Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition. May we always remain faithful to her teachings. Amen.