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The tradition of the elders

Gospel Reading: MARK 7:14-23
Jesus 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.”

When he got home away from the crowd his disciples questioned him about the parable. He said to them, “Are even you likewise without understanding? Do you not realize that everything that goes into a person from outside cannot defile, since it enters not the heart but the stomach and passes out into the latrine?” (Thus he declared all foods clean.) “But what comes out of a person, that is what defiles. 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.”


Jesus’ message today continues that of yesterday, with the focus now on what defiles a person. What one eats – what goes in from the outside – does not defile. The evils coming out of a person’s heart – covetousness, evil thoughts, murder, adultery, greed, arrogance, and the like – make the person unclean.

Some religious groups continue to believe that certain foods are unclean and eating them defiles a person. By this teaching Jesus declares “all foods clean.” What makes a person unclean is not what the person eats but what emerges from the person’s heart. If one “eats” love, patience, joy, and goodness, one’s heart will bring out good. If one nourishes anger, envy, resentment, greed, lust, and the like, what will come out are things that defile.

Are you more concerned with what you eat than what you cultivate in our heart?

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SOURCE: “365 Days with the Lord 2017,” ST. PAULS Philippines, 7708 St. Paul Rd., SAV, Makati City (Phils.); Tel.: 895-9701; Fax 895-7328; E-mail: books@stpauls.ph; Website: http://www.stpauls.ph.