In the creation story from Genesis 1, we don’t get details about how God made man. But in today’s first reading from Genesis 2, we see that “the Lord God formed man out of the clay of the ground and blew into his nostrils the breath of life, and so man became a living being.” This always reminds of the admonition we will hear on Ash Wednesday: Remember man that you were dust and unto dust you shall return. In today’s Gospel reading from Mark 7, Jesus talks about what makes a person unclean, or defiled. In this passage of Scripture, Jesus declares all foods clean. He says, “Nothing that enters one from outside can defile that person; but the things that come out from within are what defile.”
Jesus goes on, “from within people, from their hearts, come evil thoughts, unchastity, theft…” He then gives a laundry list of nasty stuff that pours out of us. He finishes with, “All these evils come from within and they defile.”
More often than not, our actions are going to follow our hearts. In essence, what is on the inside will sooner or later come out. I know…it’s a frightening thought. Most of the time I think we manage to keep it in check. But what if all that nasty, vile stuff could actually be gotten rid of? If we could be truly healed of it? Then what would come out? How about love, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, etc. You see, we don’t need only to bottle up the bad stuff and keep it inside. We need to allow God to rid us of the bad stuff.
Father, you know what is in our hearts. Give us the grace to allow you to clean out the bad stuff, so that what comes out will be the good that is in us. Amen.