Catholic Mass Readings and Reflection February 07, 2024


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R/. The mouth of the just man utters wisdom.

V/. Alleluia R/. Alleluia

V/. Your word, O Lord, is truth; sanctify us in the truth

R/. Alleluia

At that time: Jesus called the people to him again and said to them, “Hear me, all of you, and understand: There is nothing outside a person that by going into him can defile him, but the things that come out of a person are what defile him.” And when he had entered the house and left the people, his disciples asked him about the parable. And he said to them, “Then are you also without understanding? Do you not see that whatever goes into a person from outside cannot defile him, since it enters, not his heart but his stomach, and is expelled?” (Thus he declared all foods clean.) And he said, “What comes out of a person is what defiles him. For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.”

1.      Jesus once again draws our attention to the issue of defilement and uncleanness. He teaches in the clearest terms that we must pay more attention to interior defilement. We must check and see how our hearts are getting defiled and contaminated by all sorts of evil, negative, and impure thoughts.

2.       In Jesus’ own words, from the heart emerge all evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, and foolishness. All these evil things come from within. Subsequently, they defile his words and actions. Thus, the whole person is defiled.

3.       The interior is the oven of all the evil fire of offensive speech and harmful behaviour. The interior impurity is like the pest at the root that quietly and subtly corrodes and destroys the whole plant. Unfortunately, many think that defilement comes from the externals.

4.       That is why we have seen and still see many taboos, many prohibitions, and many discriminations, in cultures, societies, and religions. Some foods and some persons are kept away because they are considered defiling, unclean and untouchable.

5.       In the present times, there is an increased concern for environmental and ecological cleanliness. There is a concerted drive against various pollutions. There is also more beauty or appearance-consciousness. All these are good and needed.

6.       But we must make sure that this concern with the external purity and cleanliness should not override the concern for the internal cleanliness. We must feel more responsible and committed to an inner drive, to a process of inner cleansing.

7.       We must collect and throw away the inner garbage. We must make our hearts, our thoughts, our attitudes, our perspectives, our modes of judging and deciding more clean, guileless, and maliceless.

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