Today’s Gospel reading from Mark 7 has had a profound effect on me. Jesus tells the disciples that it’s not what one puts into the mouth that defiles (thus declaring all foods clean), but it is what comes out of us that defiles. Read the list and see if any of these things ever come from you.
In today’s first reading from Genesis 2, God creates man, sets him in the garden of Eden and says, “You are free to eat from any of the trees of the garden except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.” In essence, God gave just one rule. Don’t eat from that tree. That couldn’t be so difficult to follow, could it?
Unfortunately, “don’t” is a word that too many people associate with religion, Christianity and especially Catholicism. They think everything we believe can be summed up in that one word – DON’T! Don’t do this, don’t do that. But God’s “don’ts” aren’t just arbitrary. They come from a loving father who knows what is best for his children. Let me give you an example: Have you ever told your children, “Don’t touch that hot burner!” I sure hope so. Why? Because you love them enough not to want them to get hurt. Same with God.
Father, help us to see you as a loving Father, especially through the “don’ts.” Amen.