Gospel Mark 7:1-23
When the Pharisees with some scribes who had come from Jerusalem
gathered around Jesus,
they observed that some of his disciples ate their meals
with unclean, that is, unwashed, hands.
—For the Pharisees and, in fact, all Jews,
do not eat without carefully washing their hands,
keeping the tradition of the elders.
And on coming from the marketplace
they do not eat without purifying themselves.
And there are many other things that they have traditionally observed,
the purification of cups and jugs and kettles and beds. —
So the Pharisees and scribes questioned him,
"Why do your disciples not follow the tradition of the elders
but instead eat a meal with unclean hands?"
"Well did Isaiah prophesy about you hypocrites, as it is written:
This people honors me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me;
in vain do they worship me,
teaching as doctrines human precepts.
You disregard God's commandment but cling to human tradition."
He summoned the crowd again and said to them,
"Hear me, all of you, and understand.
Nothing that enters one from outside can defile that person;
but the things that come out from within are what defile.
"From within people, from their hearts,
come evil thoughts, unchastity, theft, murder,
adultery, greed, malice, deceit,
licentiousness, envy, blasphemy, arrogance, folly.
All these evils come from within and they defile."
+Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of the faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love. Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created, and Thou shall renew the face of the earth. Amen.
"You disregard God's commandment and cling to human tradition:" This Gospel is very poignant in our times. Will it become dangerous to speak the Truth? To cling to God's commandments? To uphold the Word of God in my heart and to lead others to do the same? To have Integrity, that wholeness of mind and heart and soul, that what I think, I say, and what I say I mean. That my mind and heart and lips are compatible. There was a time in the Church, when a Bishop lost his life for the sake of the Truth. Are we there again? That Bishop was St. John Fisher. In the Gospel today we hear our Lords words, that we need to live obedient to His commandments, the 1st Commandment foremost: To have no other gods besides Him. To be obedient to Him alone, orients the entirety of our life. When we allow other 'gods' to creep in, and we obey these other 'gods' as if they are above the One True God, we enter into the atmosphere of the enemy which is filled with duplicity and sadness. When idols become who and what we worship: Self, Money, Prestige, Popularity, Pleasures, Vices, the list goes on and when we "idolize" these false gods, every bit of sin enters our hearts, as Jesus said it would.
If we look at our world right now, and now, bring it closer, look at your household and now., look at oneself. What 'other gods' have entered the heart. What laws of God do we dismiss as less important, because we have placed a higher value on the 'idol' which we have have "befriended" or perhaps even defend. It can appear unrealistic to us, to think of ourselves not addicted to ______ or not reacting like ____, or not filled with _______(fill in the blanks)
But our Lord Jesus has given us a very simple direction in which to turn, and this direction can heal us and that is: To turn just one thing towards Him, our hearts. "This people honors me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me" Here we find our Hope and our answer. To continue to honor our Lord with our lips but now to change one thing with the help of His Grace and with the desire of hearts, and that is: to turn our hearts to Him and to come to Him, to come very, very close to Him. To bring ourselves and our broken and wounded hearts, close to His. To allow the Divine Physician to work, heal, love, restore and strengthen.
Prayer: Jesus the Way the Truth and the Life, Jesus the Bread of Life, Jesus the Son of the Father, Jesus our Savior, Jesus our God, Jesus our Light, Jesus the Good Shepherd, Jesus the Word Made Flesh and dwelling among us, Jesus the Eternal High Priest, Jesus the Lamb led to the slaughter for us, Jesus our Hope, Jesus the Prince of Peace, Jesus Son of the Living God have mercy on us poor sinners. Amen