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Monday, February 8, 2021


 "You nullify the word of God in favor of your tradition that you have handed on." Mk 7:13

Ours is a traditional faith. We value all that has gone before us, and treasure the memory of Jesus' life, death and resurrection. The word traditional is telling. It means to hand over to the next generation that which has been given to us by our ancestors.

Catholics are traditional in this sense, not only in our parish faith communities, but also in our homes. Rituals are passed from one generation to the next as gifts that carry our deepest values. Almost every culture has its own rituals that complement the Eucharist and other sacraments.

Babka, for instance, is a rich rising bread that people in the Ukraine bake for Easter. Families break pieces off and share it among themselves in order to remember that Christ's rising from the dead is a rich and sweet memory, but like every tradition, it can undermine our  most basic values. When we worry more about celebrating the ritual correctly than the values it represents, we fall into the same sin as the Pharisees. Tradition becomes a trap that trips people up rather than an evocative celebration that sets us free.

Today, bless yourself with holy water and remember your baptism.

What are your favorite family rituals?

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