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What goes in...What goes out



Matthew 15: (10-20), 21-28

[Jesus called the crowd to him and said to them, "Listen and understand: it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but it is what comes out of the mouth that defiles." Then the disciples approached and said to him, "Do you know that the Pharisees took offense when they heard what you said?" He answered, "Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be uprooted. Let them alone; they are blind guides of the blind. And if one blind person guides another, both will fall into a pit." But Peter said to him, "Explain this parable to us." Then he said, "Are you also still without understanding? Do you not see that whatever goes into the mouth enters the stomach, and goes out into the sewer? But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this is what defiles. For out of the heart come evil intentions, murder, adultery, fornication, theft, false witness, slander. These are what defile a person, but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile."]

Sunday's Gospel reading has Matthew 15:10-15 as an optional reading and at this point I am opting out.  So... I will briefly write about it here.  Jesus said it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles but what comes out. I think he was addressing two things.  First, he was objecting to all of the rules the Jews had piled one on top of the other about being clean.  It was clearly over regulated regarding what you could eat,  how you could prepare it, who could prepare it and on and on.  It was obsessive. 

What Jesus was more concerned with was what was in a person's heart and how it was expressed.  He was telling his followers that the real danger to a person's soul was how they treated their fellow human beings.  It can be easier to control your diet than control your tongue.  It is still true today.

Fr. Fred

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