Faith Daily | 9 February 2022
PRAYER of the DAY - APBA p 535
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.
GOSPEL for the Day: Mark 7: 14-23
14Then 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.”
17When 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: Rev’d David
Jesus is confronted by the Jewish religious leaders, because His disciples were eating without following the ceremonial traditions to which they required obedience.
He first responds by pointing out that the Pharisees are hypocritical because “…they teach man made ideas as commands from God” and “cancel the words of God in order to hand down their own tradition”. (Mark 7: 7 and 13 NLT)
There is a clear message here that God does not tolerate the rewriting of His word to suit human ideas. As St Augustine put it: “Faith will falter if the authority of Scripture is shaken”.
Now, in the passage before us today, Jesus turns to the central truth that is behind this encounter with the Pharisees. He speaks to the crowd around Him and later to the disciples privately about what is the true source of defilement (being unclean or sinful before God, and so out of fellowship with Him), whether it is a human condition contracted from the outside or is it an evil dwelling within.
How easy it is to think like the Pharisees eg “I lost my temper because I am under a lot of stress”.
No, Jesus says the problem is not outside us, it comes from within.
About six centuries before this, the OT prophet Jeremiah put it like this: “The human heart is the most deceitful of all things and desperately wicked, who really knows how bad it is”. (Jeremiah 17:9 NLT)
Jesus affirms that the problem is in the human heart. (Mark 7: 20-23)
But the good news is that Jesus came to give us a new heart, which we are called to use to demonstrate the new life He has given. St Paul put it like this: “anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person, the old is gone, a new life has begun”.
( 2 Corinthians 5:17 NLT)
“Don’t shine so others can see you. Shine so that through you others can see Him”.
(C S Lewis)
FINAL PRAYER: (APBA 537)
Most holy God,
in whose presence angels serve in awe,
and whose glory fills all heaven and earth:
cleanse our unclean lips
and transform us by your grace
so that your word spoken through us
may bring many to your salvation;
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God for ever and ever. Amen.