10th February 2021

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Gen 2: 4-9,15-17

Ps 104: 1-2,27-30

Mk 7: 14-23


“Keep your heart with all vigilance for from it flow the springs of life.” (Prov 4:23). Jesus, in the Gospel passage today, is asking us to pay close attention to our heart and what comes from it. In the Gospel of Matthew, we hear him saying: “For out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.” (Mt 12:34) It is this that makes a person holy or defiles him.

Today, when Jesus says, “Nothing that enters one from outside can defile a person”, he is mainly referring to food, and those ritualistic obligations associated with it, which were developed by the Pharisees and the scribes over the years based on their understanding of the Old Testament and imposed on the people. Jesus says these are external acts and do not necessarily reflect a person’s mind, attitude or conscience. We can follow perfectly all the practices out of obligation or routine, and still have sin, hatred and death in our heart.

Jesus directs attention of the people to the root of all good or evil in us, our heart. He exhorts them, “Check your thoughts, your inner motivations, your pride, the infidelity of your heart.” If we are able to keep a check on what is in our heart and mind, our words and actions will fall in line. Hence, if we are in this constant process of consciously purifying our heart, our words and actions will also be similarly transformed.

One way that the wisdom of the Church provides to partake in this purification process is a sincere and unhurried daily examination of conscience, by which we recognize and humbly acknowledge our innermost sins as well as the mild imperfections, and place them at the Lord’s feet that he may gradually purge them day by day from within us. May our desire to be like Jesus encourage us to purify the very depths of our heart that we may become holy like him.

Responsorial Psalm: Bless the Lord, O my soul!

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