Whenever we give sin a chance in our lives by speaking and acting in a profane way, we become unclean and defile our very being, grieving the Spirit of God that lives in us. In today’s Gospel, we see Jesus answering the questions of the scribes and Pharisees about ritual cleansing. He reminds them that what goes into a man is not what makes him unclean but what comes from within him – the choices we make along with the things we say and do, are the things which determine whether we are worthy enough to be in the Lord’s presence.
But how do we ensure that we have good things coming out from within us? Matthew 12:34 will tell us: “… how can ye, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaketh.” Thus, we must feed our hearts and spirit with the Word of God and surround ourselves with godly people so that speaking uprightly and making good choices will become our natural way of life. That is why Jesus warned the disciples to be wary of the “blind” scribes and Pharisees.
In the first reading, we see again how sin puts the Israelites in a very pitiful state. The Prophet Jeremiah described how serious their situation was because of the gravity of their sin. He used the imagery of hurt that is incurable and wound that is grievous to the point that there is no medicine that can heal them. The passage reiterates how, through sin and in sin, we lose our dignity, pride and position with God. Rejecting God’s direction and voice and following our own “gods” is one sure way of opening ourselves up for contamination by the devil and he fills us with canker and decay.
The beauty of the story, which is a source of hope for you and I, is that despite the sins and transgressions of the people which the Lord had punished them for, he is now going to restore the fortunes of Jerusalem and rebuild the city. This comes at a time when the people were disheartened at the restoration work ahead of them. What a double blessing from a just, yet merciful God. He will not only heal them, but also restore their land. May this holistic healing be your lot.
(Jer 30:1-2,12-15,18-22; Ps 102; Mtt 15:1-2,10-14)
PLEASE PRAY FOR THE HEALTH OF THE ARCHBISHOP. STAY SAFE.