Sunday, September 2, 2018
Twenty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B
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
Jesus speaks this passage after calling the Pharisees “hypocrites.” He rebukes them for being obsessively concerned about the externals and failing to be attentive to the internals. Jesus makes it clear that evil comes from within and that the heart should be our true concern.
The thing that sparked Jesus’ strong rebuke of the Pharisees was the fact that they criticized the disciples for not washing their hands and, thus, they ate their meal with “unclean hands.” What’s sad is that the Pharisees seem to make a huge deal about this fact. What this reveals is that the Pharisees seemed to think that holiness is something that you obtain by scrupulous external observance of the laws and customs of the times. But they failed to see the importance of what was within.
St. Teresa of Ávila has a couple of beautiful quotes that speak of the importance of that which is within. “Within you dwells your God. Enter within, look at Him, talk to Him, listen to Him and stay with Him in your heart.” And, “Indeed, we have heaven within ourselves for the Lord of Heaven is there.”
Jesus also points out the types of evil that come from within. “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: 21-23.
So what’s in your heart? When you spend time alone and quietly look at your life, what do you see? What is it that makes up your interior life?
Reflect, today, upon that which is within. Know that any sin in your heart must be acknowledged, confessed and purged. Only when that is done can you meet God who dwells within. Only then can you allow God to transform your exterior from His presence in your soul.
Lord, please do come into my heart. Set my heart on fire with love for You. Purge my heart of all sin and allow Your divine presence to shine forth for all to see. Jesus, I trust in You.