September 2

Mark 7:14-15, 21-23

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

Jesus spoke these words in response to the Pharisees’ insistence upon complete adherence to the most minute points of their laws, particularly those which dealt with proper eating and drinking. Most of those ordinances had arisen through the centuries to help people understand what was necessary for complete obedience to God’s basic commandments. The rabbis believed that if one were attentive to the minor points of the law there would be little danger of committing a major sin. It was a reasonable premise…but things had gotten out of hand. The whole purpose of the law had been forgotten…instead of being a blessing, a way to order life in community, it had become a curse. So Jesus calls the people back to the basics: God is not concerned with the externals…what counts with God is what is on the inside! What’s important is a clean heart, and not clean hands! It’s a simple teaching, yet one that is devilishly hard to put into practice. Because of our judgmental nature we tend to focus on externals, how we and others behave in public settings. What a blessing to ourselves and to others when our focus shifts and we begin to care for the health of our souls!

Thought for the Day: What is proper soul care?


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