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.” Mark 7:14-15 NABRE
Jesus was questioned by the religious leaders about His disciples not purifying themselves before taking a meal as is required by the law. This leads to Jesus explaining we cannot be defiled by things that enter from the outside. To be defiled means to be unclean for ritual worship, or unfit for sacred use, it is a legal term from the Torah. Much of the Law of Moses concerns the distinction between clean and unclean, how a person or object becomes unclean and what to do about it. Jesus is making a distinction, radically recasting the meaning of clean and unclean. Things cannot make a person unclean, rather uncleanliness comes from within, the inner deaths of a person’s words and actions. There is a beauty in the ritual practices of purity, a type of worship in themselves, but Jesus is much more interested in what is happening within us. External rituals while reminding us of sacredness, do nothing without a transformed heart and soul. Looking at this from the distance of time we might see Jesus trying to force a change in the worship system of the Jews. We should noticed Jesus summons the crowd, He was speaking to a few religious leaders and His disciples but this message of internal cleanliness is for everyone, and it is controversial, even today.
We must protect what we think and how we are influenced. Our American culture today is more and more in a rage, anger coming from isolation, being told how to live, where we can go. This internal pressure is cause for concern. Find a way to relieve this pressure through contemplation.
Do you spend time in quiet prayer? Are you able to avoid anger?We must protect what we think and how we are influenced. Our American culture today is more and more in a rage, anger coming from isolation, being told how to live, where we can go. Find a way to relieve this pressure through contemplation. Click To Tweet
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