Twenty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time
Let talk about an educational method
He summoned the crowd again and said to them, “Hear me, all of you, and understand. Nothing that enters one from outside can defile that person; but the things that come out from within are what defile.” From within people, from their hearts, come evil thoughts, unchastity, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, licentiousness, envy, blasphemy, arrogance, folly. All these evils come from within and they defile.” Mk 7,14-15.21-23
Man – Jesus says today – can only be made unclean by what comes out of his heart, not by what comes into him living his days naturally: “From within people, from their hearts, come evil thoughts, unchastity, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, licentiousness, envy, blasphemy, arrogance, folly”. Paul, in his letter to the Galatians, thinking about this passage from the Gospel, adds that such manifestations – which he calls the flesh – occur only if we let ourselves be guided by respect for the law. If, on the other hand, we are guided by the Spirit still following the law, “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Gal 5,22) come out of us. How can the same person produce such different fruits if it let itself be guided by the Spirit ?…..When, in the country, we pass in front of an uncultivated field, we see only weeds and undergrowth, but if, on the contrary, it is well cultivated, there are good fruits that delight the sight and the heart, before they even give us nourishment. The reason for the difference is only cultivation. Plainly speaking and returning to the fruits of the flesh and the Spirit, we think that diversity is due to cultivation, and in case of man, it is called educational method: in order to hope for our children to produce fruits of the Spirit, it is necessary to give them a spiritual education. In other words, it is necessary to make them grow in the light of the Gospel. It is not enough to remove the weeds of bad habits, giving young people a good human education; it is also necessary to sow the good seed of the Word of God in their hearts, watering and fertilizing it with the habit of prayer and attendance at the sacraments. All this, however, is not sufficient: the children must grow warmed by love, the way the plant needs the light and heat of the sun. But it must not be an exclusive love for them, as in agriculture it happens to crops in greenhouses. In order to let young people grow up really well and, when due, give the fruits of the spirit of which Paul speaks, they must grow in a global atmosphere of love: love for God, love between their parents, love of neighbours and love for them. If the seed and climate are good, the ground gives excellent results. For a good crop, it is good, however, to respect the rest of the sabbatical year too: “For six years you may sow your field, and for six years prune your vineyard, gathering in their produce. But during the seventh year the land shall have a complete rest, a sabbath for the Lord” (Lv 25,3-4). If we apply this rule of the agricultural world to the educational method, it is necessary that education is not intensive and obsessive: young people need their room and their leisure time, in order to assimilate, let grow and live with a lightness of spirit the principles that have learn little by little, and in order to grow their dreams.