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What defiles



What makes a person unclean? Is it the presence of external dirt on the body? Is it the failure to wash hands? We can be obsessed with physical hygiene or cleanliness; we squirm at seeing the slightest dirt. But Jesus makes it clear that it is not what goes in (what one eats) that makes one unclean, but what comes out—the moral and spiritual “dirt” that reflects the kind of heart one has. We may choose painstakingly what we eat, but that does not make us automatically “clean” persons. Thus, the dirty, smelly beggar on the street, eating what might be called dirty food, may be “cleaner” than we are inwardly. May we resolve to maintain spiritual cleanliness above other things and not judge or despise people as “unclean” based on our usual external standards.

Do we bother about or give equal attention to our inner purity as we do towards our exterior cleanliness?

Gospel • MARK 7:14-23reflectionstoday

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.”

SOURCE: “365 Days with the Lord 2019,” ST. PAULS, 7708 St. Paul Rd., SAV, Makati City (Phils.); Tel.: 632-895-9701; Fax 632-895-7328; E-mail: publishing@stpauls.ph; Website: http://www.stpauls.ph.


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