Fr Paul reads from the Gospel of Mark (7: 14-23) where Jesus shares a parable to the crowd which speaks of how a person becomes unclean. ‘Nothing outside a person can make them unclean by going into them…rather it is what comes out of a person that makes them unclean’.
Fr Paul explains that in this Gospel the controversy over the observance of the written law and the oral law continues as well as the whole emphasis on cleanliness and unclean food. Jesus sweeps away all the legal restrictions on food. Many of the restrictions were founded on ancient ideas of hygiene and they were and still are an important feature of Jewish life.
Fr Paul says, this has the practical consequences that Jews and Christians could not share a meal. What Jesus is doing is a sign of His sovereign and divine authority and because of this He feels able to cancel out these regulations; the same as when He cancelled out the priority of the Sabbath. If the law comes from God only God can alter it.
At the end of the Gospel, Jesus lists those things that come from the human heart; fornication, theft, murder, adultery, avarice, malice, deceit, indecency, envy, slander, pride and folly.
Fr Paul invites us for our reflection today to reflect on the list above and ask ourselves; ‘are any of these things from this list part of my life in any way, shape or form?