February 12, 2020 (Wednesday of Week 5 Year II)
What makes one unclean?
Dear friends in Christ, God created everything good. But how we use even the best of the resources at our disposal can become a problem. Peter obviously had his reservations but a vision cleared his mind when a voice told him, “What God has made clean, you have no right to call profane.”(Acts 10:15) Though this had to do with his mission to the Gentiles, it also had implications for their traditions.
In the first reading (1Kings 10:1-10) the Queen of Sheba came to put Solomon to the test but Solomon had the right answers to whatever test it was. The gift of wisdom given him by God was at work. It is possible she also came to establish trade relations between her nation and Israel as well. She said, “The report was true which I heard in my own land of your affairs and of your wisdom, but I did not believe the report until I came and with my own eyes had seen it…” She was highly impressed of Solomon and of his household and the wisdom behind all he had achieved. Trust in God and you can achieve a lot more than what’s humanly possible.
Today’s gospel (Mark 7:14-23) continues the discussion on what can make someone unclean in relation to God’s commandment. In yesterday’s passage, Jesus complained about how people leave the commandment of God and hold on to their traditions. Many of those who lived in the time of Jesus would have considered food as something that can render someone unclean. Many in the time of Antiochus Epiphanes and the Maccabees had suffered martyrdom for refusing to eat pork because it will defile them. There are rules on how to wash vegetables and prepare certain meals before they can be eaten as well. But Jesus taught his disciples what truly defiles is not food but what comes from the heart. “Do you not see that whatever goes into a man from outside cannot defile him, since it enters not his heart but his stomach, and so passes on…What comes out of a man is what defiles a man. For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, fornication, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit…All these evil things come from within and they defile a man.”
The devil is not always outside of the person who is doing evil. The person might have suggestions from outside to do what is wrong but the ultimate decision and the plan to carry it out comes from within. The real damage comes from within. It is like a self implosion into evil from the thoughts generated and perfected within.
Let us pray: O God, keep us free of sin. Keep us always in the path of righteousness. Amen. May the Almighty God bless you, the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen