Memory of the Saints and the Prophets

Share On

Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

You are a chosen race,
a royal priesthood, a holy nation,
a people acquired by God
to proclaim his marvellous works.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Mark 7, 14-23

He called the people to him again and said, 'Listen to me, all of you, and understand.

Nothing that goes into someone from outside can make that person unclean; it is the things that come out of someone that make that person unclean.

Anyone who has ears for listening should listen!'

When he had gone into the house, away from the crowd, his disciples questioned him about the parable.

He said to them, 'Even you -- don't you understand? Can't you see that nothing that goes into someone from outside can make that person unclean,

because it goes not into the heart but into the stomach and passes into the sewer?' (Thus he pronounced all foods clean.)

And he went on, 'It is what comes out of someone that makes that person unclean.

For it is from within, from the heart, that evil intentions emerge: fornication, theft, murder,

adultery, avarice, malice, deceit, indecency, envy, slander, pride, folly.

All these evil things come from within and make a person unclean.'


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

You will be holy,
because I am holy, thus says the Lord.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The passage continues the discussion about what is pure and impure that began in yesterday’s Gospel. It is an important theme in Jesus’ teaching. So he calls the crowd around him to show them the true religious dimension of life. He now responds directly to the question the Pharisees had asked him about why his disciples ate with "defiled hands," that is, without washing them. In Jesus’ words, his disciples do so because, "whatever goes into a person from outside cannot defile.... It is what comes out of a person that defiles." The key point is the heart. It is from the heart that wicked thoughts, impure intentions, and bad decisions come. Consequently, it is our heart that we need to take care of. It is here that we need to uproot the bitter weeds of hatred, revenge, avarice, and the abuse of power. Jesus says clearly, "For it is from within, from the human heart, that evil intentions come: fornication, theft, murder, adultery, avarice, wickedness, deceit, licentiousness, envy, slander, pride, and folly. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person." It is these bad feelings that give rise to violence and conflict. The central battle of our lives is fought in the heart, to free it from bad instincts and to sow it with the seed of love. This happens when we sow the Word of God in our hearts and let it bear fruit. Mary, the first believer, teaches us this from the beginning. The Gospel writes that she witnessed what occurred to Jesus and "treasured all these things in her heart." This is why her thoughts and her actions were good, because they came from a heart purified by continuous listening to the Word of God and uninterrupted contemplation of what Jesus was doing. This is the path we need to follow if we want to live with pure hearts.