Now when the Pharisees and some of the scribes who had come from Jerusalem gathered around him, they noticed that some of his disciples were eating with defiled hands, that is, without washing them. (For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, do not eat unless they thoroughly wash their hands, thus observing the tradition of the elders; and they do not eat anything from the market unless they wash it; and there are also many other traditions that they observe, the washing of cups, pots, and bronze kettles.)
So the Pharisees and the scribes asked him, “Why do your disciples not live according to the tradition of the elders, but eat with defiled hands?” He said to them, “Isaiah prophesied rightly about you hypocrites, as it is written,
‘This people honors me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me;
in vain do they worship me,
teaching human precepts as doctrines.’
You abandon the commandment of God and hold to human tradition.”
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.” For it is from within, from the human heart, that evil intentions come: fornication, theft, murder, adultery, avarice, wickedness, deceit, licentiousness, envy, slander, pride, folly. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.”
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
While on vacation with my brother and sister-in-law a few weeks ago, I caught a brief glimpse into the life of parents with a 1-year-old and a 3-year-old. For a Jesuit priest, these moments of “family life” can be quite enlightening! Within moments of starting our trip, I realized how many wet wipes it takes to keep two youngsters on the go. There were wipes in the car, wipes in the kitchen, wipes in the bathroom, wipes in bags, wipes by the pool … everywhere I turned, more wipes! Hands were being cleaned, faces, feet, arms – any exposed bit of skin alternated between filthy and wiped clean. Worldwide, the “wipe industry” is forecasted at over $11 billion! Christ today offers us a solid reminder: Do we spend near as much time trying to purify what comes out of ourselves as we put into cleaning what might come in?
Today, when you find quiet moments, simply ask the Lord as the Psalmist says in Psalm 51: “Create in me a clean heart, O God.”
—Marcus Fryer, SJ
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