September 2, 2012: 22nd Sunday in Oridnary Time
When the Pharisees with some scribes who had come from Jerusalem gathered around Jesus, they observed that some of his disciples ate their meals with unclean, that is, unwashed, hands. The Pharisees and, in fact, all Jews, do not eat without carefully washing their hands, keeping the tradition of the elders. And on coming from the marketplace they do not eat without purifying themselves.
And there are many other things that they have traditionally observed, the purification of cups and jugs and kettles and beds. So the Pharisees and scribes questioned him, “Why do your disciples not follow the tradition of the elders but instead eat a meal with unclean hands?” He responded, “Well did Isaiah prophesy about you hypocrites, as it is written: This people honors me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines human precepts. You disregard God’s commandment but cling to human tradition.”
He 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.
“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.” (Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23)
I’m sure your mother has told you not to begin to eat anything until you wash your hands.
The reason, of course, is that if your hands are dirty, when you handle the food you are going to eat, the dirt on your hands will get on the food and into your mouth and you may become sick. This habit is not only American, it is worldwide…and a very good practice.
But Jesus here is not talking about food, he is talking about bad thoughts that come into your mind and can turn you from a good person into a not-so-good person.
Take about two or three minutes tonight to try to remember the things you thought about today–when you were getting up, when you were eating lunch, when you were playing with your friends. Then ask God to help you think more often about love–so that you are always aware of just how much God loves you!