A reading from the holy Gospel according to 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 the man, that is what defiles him. From within the man, from his heart, come evil thoughts, unchastity, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, licentiousness, envy, blasphemy, arrogance, folly. All these evils come from within and they defile.”
REFLECTION: "From within the man, from his heart, come evil thoughts, unchastity, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, licentiousness, envy, blasphemy, arrogance, folly."
With Valentine's Day just around the corner, we are reminded of love--the perfect Love, Jesus Christ.
For Valentine, the expression of love is through material things--a box of candy, night out to eat at an expensive restaurant, wine, and flowers. Fellow coworkers "ooh and ah" when the flowers show up at the office, they see the pretty pendant or ring received as a token of someone's love or notice the radiant glow in our faces when we have been told we are loved.
In today's Gospel, Jesus deals with true love. The ritualistic cleansing of the outside such as not eating certain foods, drinking from clean cups, and the outward signs required before anyone could worship or offer sacrifice to God do not make us worthy of God's love. We must be aware of the true defilement that comes from our very heart, our soul.
"From within the man, from his heart, come evil thoughts, unchastity, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, licentiousness, envy, blasphemy, arrogance, folly." Sin does not just pop in for a visit. It comes from our innermost self. So when jealousy shows up at the office, when lust is knocking at our door, when dishonesty and lewdness want to be our friends, how do we respond? Do we welcome them, hoping they bring us what we wanted? Do we struggle with will power? We can try the "no no" approach and hope that we are strong enough to remove these innate evils from our hearts. Do we think we can swim upstream or against the current and be successful?
It is doubtful that we would beat the strength of evil as it can only be overcome by the Holy Spirit. He is our counselor, our protector. He will not leave us alone to our own defense. We eventually will tire and be exhausted of the fight and lose our very soul in the middle of the battle. The Holy Spirit will fight for us and give us the graces needed. He will give us love, wisdom and peace..
Our lifestyle change is embracing God and saying yes to His help. Let us start off recognizing a vice and then seeking the Holy Spirit's help in obtaining the virtue to overcome it. Let us yell out a resounding "No" to evil as only the Holy Spirit can do !!!
God Bless You