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Faith Daily | 10 February 2021

PRAYER of the WEEK Epiphany Five

Father of all,

who gave your only-begotten Son

to take upon himself the form of a servant

and to be obedient even to death on a cross:

give us the same mind that was in Christ Jesus,

that, sharing in his humility,

we may come to be with him in his glory;

where he lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and for ever.

Amen APBA p535

GOSPEL for the Day: Mark 7: 14-23

14 Then he called the crowd again and said to them, ‘Listen to me, all of you, and understand: 15there is nothing outside a person that by going in can defile, but the things that come out are what defile.’

17 When he had left the crowd and entered the house, his disciples asked him about the parable. 18He said to them, ‘Then do you also fail to understand? Do you not see that whatever goes into a person from outside cannot defile, 19since it enters, not the heart but the stomach, and goes out into the sewer?’ (Thus he declared all foods clean.) 20And he said, ‘It is what comes out of a person that defiles. 21For it is from within, from the human heart, that evil intentions come: fornication, theft, murder, 22adultery, avarice, wickedness, deceit, licentiousness, envy, slander, pride, folly. 23All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.’

GOSPEL Reflection: Contributed by Neville Eckersley

In this passage Jesus seems at first to be talking about the food laws of the Jewish people,(verse 14) and this would have been the most likely interpretation by the crowd. These laws were at that time very important markers of Jewish identity as they had been the issues for which there was a successful Jewish rebellion against an arrogant autocrat, Antioches Epiphanes two centuries prior.

However Jesus makes it clear to his disciples, in private verse 17 (because it is a contentious subject for public talk), that he is addressing the issue of true personal purity that the food laws could only point to.

He told the disciples that it is the human heart that sources the evils of the world and so it needs to be thoroughly cleansed to make true purity rather than the appearance of it, as suggested in the food laws. As we follow Mark’s Gospel we learn that Jesus is not only concerned to point out the cause of human evil, but to bring about its cure and so bring us back to God, his Father and ours.

So our task as followers of this wonderful Jesus is to bring all we are, all we have in our hearts, the good, the bad, and the ugly, and let him forgive and renew us by the new life in the Spirit he offers and made possible for us by his death and resurrection.

May we do this today and always.

FINAL PRAYER: David Adam, adapted ancient Celtic prayer

Christ, as a light,

illumine and guide us.

Christ, as a shield,

overshadow and cover us.

Christ be under us. Christ be over us.

Christ be beside us, on left and on right.

Christ before us.

Christ be behind us.

Christ be within us.

Christ be without us.

Christ as a light,

illumine and guide us.


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