Daily Reflection – 2/8/2023
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. When he got home away from the crowd his disciples questioned him about the parable. He said to them, “Are even you likewise without understanding? Do you not realize that everything that goes into a person from outside cannot defile, since it enters not the heart but the stomach and passes out into the latrine? But what comes out of a person, that is what defiles. 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: 14-23)
In our scripture today, Jesus criticized a portion of his own community for paying God lip service, exalting human precepts, abandoning divine commandments. Like a beam of laser light, he cut through to the real issue: their hearts are far from God.
He wants us to get back to the basics of truthful worship of God. He cuts through the forest of minute rules and regulations and reveals the whole purpose of God’s law . . . to protect and foster love for God and each other. Good law should provide a framework in which love can grow. Bad law stifles real love.
That’s why inner purity is far more important than outward cleanliness. What really matters is the way we think, our inmost desires and longings. These lead to the way we behave
The very essence of what Jesus taught us was love and compassion. Our daily goal and our life’s goal is to build a legacy marked by those two virtues. If we love Christ, we live Christ. It’s truly that simple. It only becomes complicated because we live in a world that puts a premium on other things. That world seeks to draw us into its standards, its guidelines, its immorality. That’s why today’s scripture is so important to actualize in our lives.
There are only two forces in our world – good and evil. They pull at each other every day and seek to draw us into their sphere. As Christians, we know what we must do. But the darker force nibbles at our innermost thoughts 24/7. We say “love” and it answers, “If you have the time and it suits you.” We say “I must find a way to help and to reach out”. It answers “Why? You are too busy. You have enough going on in your life.” We say “I really shouldn’t participate in this “ and it says “ A little won’t hurt you.” We say “I really should worship with others so I can support them and they me.” It says “Look how much you have to do. Go look at nature and that like going to Church.”
We don’t recognize enough that those forces invade our minds and spirits each day. The only way to manage them effectively is to continually focus on the two great commands. Our Lord died for us so that we may live. What a gift. Let’s not throw that away.
We honor that gift through living out His words. By pushing back on every thought, every intention, every voice that takes us off course.
We do that by making our lives a prayer to the one who loves us most. Make your life a prayer. What a legacy!
Prayer of The Day
Lord Jesus, let the fire of your Holy Spirit cleanse my mind and my heart that I may love you purely and serve you worthily”.
Jesus refers his followers to the prophecy of Isaiah (29:31) where the prophet accuses the people of his day for honoring God with their lips while their hearts went astray because of disobedience to God’s laws.
If we listen to God’s word with faith and reverence, it will both enlighten our mind and purify our heart – thus enabling us to better understand how he wants us to love and obey him. The Lord invites us to draw near to him and to feast at his banquet table. Do you approach with a clean heart and mind? Ask the Lord to cleanse and renew you with the purifying fire of his Holy Spirit.