Only What Enters the Heart (Mk 7:14-23)
O Jesus, let no evil designs enter my heart.
Picture Jesus summoning the crowd.
After his conflict with the Pharisees, Jesus summons the crowd to give his own teaching. He declares that all foods are clean. This is a gigantic help in freeing Gentile Christians from Jewish dietary laws. Then Jesus teaches the importance of inner desires.
Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)
Jesus called the crowd to himself, saying, “Listen and understand. Nothing entering a man from outside can make him evil. Only what comes out of a man defiles him. Whoever has ears let him hear.”
When he entered the house, his disciples asked him about this teaching. He replied, “Are you, also, without understanding? Whatever enters a man cannot defile him because it does not enter his heart but his stomach and is soon passed out.” In this way, he made all foods clean.
“It is what comes out of man which defiles him. From the deep recesses of his heart come wicked designs, acts of fornication, murder, adultery, greed, maliciousness, theft, deceit, sensuality, envy, blasphemy, arrogance and an obtuse spirit. All these evils come from within and they defile a man.
Thoughts: (Read all. Ponder the ones that attract you.)
- Whenever Jesus wants a fair audience, he calls the crowd.
- His teaching is sound. Food does not defile. Words and deeds coming from our hearts certainly can.
- The disciples are slow to understand. So, Jesus devotes more time to them.
- The list of evils is overwhelming. Yet, it is true. All of these come from the human heart.
- Jesus makes us look intently at our own hearts and what comes forth.
- What comes out of your heart?
Affections: (When one touches your heart, use your own words.)
- O Jesus, I will take your words into my heart and they will make me holy.
- How many evil words and deeds come from my heart! Let me gain control.
- Teach me, Jesus. Teach me time and again. I am a slow learner.
- O Jesus, evils come forth from my unpurified heart. Cleanse the stream of my desires.
- Jesus, I am willing. You have permission to purify my heart.
Resolutions: (Possibly you might want to make your own.)
+ I will examine the evils in my heart.
+ I will purify my heart by the sacrament of confession.
Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation.)
It is what comes forth from his heart that defiles a man.