(Matthew 15:1 + 10-14)
Prayer: O Jesus, let me be planted by your heavenly Father
Imagination: (Picture Jesus preaching to the crowds.)
This gospel mentions two enemies of Jesus – the scribes from Jerusalem (fierce opponents) and Pharisees (misguided opponents). The scribes raise the question of purification of hands before eating. The Pharisees object to eating certain foods. Since they both deal with food, Matthew joins these two controversies.
Gospel text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)
The scribes from Jerusalem said to Jesus, ‘Why do your disciples transgress the traditions of the ancients? For example, they do not wash their hands before eating a meal.
Jesus summoned the crowd and said, “Hear and understand. It is not what goes into a man’s mouth that defiles him, but what comes out of his heart. This is what defiles a man.”
His disciples said to him, “Do you know that the Pharisees were scandalized when they heard these words. Jesus answered, “Every plant which my Father has not planted, shall be rooted up.
Let them alone. They are blind and are leaders of the blind. If the blind lead the blind they will both fall into the pit.”
Thoughts: (Read all. Ponder the ones that attract you.)
- The scribes are not concerned about good health habits. They are clinging to religious traditions, but not to the living God.
- Jesus rejected these practices because they did not change people’s hearts.
- The Pharisees stressed dietary laws so people would be holy.
- For Jesus, the food going into the stomach is not important.
- Good or evil depend on the desires coming from the heart.
- Jesus corrects the disciples’ awe toward the Pharisees. Otherwise, they would follow their teaching.
- Only what the heavenly Father does in our hearts will not be uprooted.
Affections: (When one touches your heart, use your own words.)
- Jesus, I will keep my eyes on you and my heart upon your words.
- Change my heart, O Lord. Create a new spirit within me.
- Show me, O Lord, the inner workings of my own heart.
- Bring my hidden desires into the light.
- O Jesus, what I eat is not important. Being like you is very important.
- O Father, plant eternal life in my heart.
Resolutions: (Possibly you might want to make your own.)
- I will be careful about whose advice I follow.
- I will guard my thoughts, words and deeds.
Thought for the day: (To recall your meditation)
What comes out of a man’s heart determines what he is.