Wednesday of the Fifth Week in Ordinary Time

We become what we contemplate

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.” When he got home away from the crowd his disciples questioned him about the parable. He said to them, “Are even you likewise without understanding? Do you not realize that everything that goes into a person from outside cannot defile, since it enters not the heart but the stomach and passes out into the latrine?” (Thus he declared all foods clean.) “But what comes out of a person, that is what defiles. 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 7,14-23

The human heart has two inclinations, to the evil and to the good. “From within people, from their hearts – Jesus says today – come evil thoughts: impurity, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, licentiousness, envy, blasphemy, arrogance, folly”. These are the things which can infect people, being them  foods or pictures. He, on the today passage , declares clean all the foods, but the position on the images remain open. From the heart of the man, however, the inclinations to the good, what Paul calls the fruit of the Spirit, are also originated: “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness” (Gal 5,22). As the man can juggle between two opposite orientations it is spelt out in a rabbinic aphorism which comments the first commandment: “You shall love God with all your heart, that is, with its inclinations, the good and the evil”. No one can, in fact, remove from his heart the inclination to the evil: the important is that this does not prevent us from loving God who accepts us as we are. The real problem of the man is not his sin: it  is that it prevents him from going to God, because he does not feel worthy. We, however, have a way to turn our hearts to the fruits of the spirit, rather than to the evil: to contemplate what is right, beautiful, true and holy, because the man becomes what he contemplates. And so we resumed the subject of the images which we left open. Our attention should be paid to the images, rather than to the food: therefore we must eliminate from our everyday interests many television programs, books, newspapers, advertising and opinion leaders which guide our thoughts toward the evil. This is the way to face our inclinations to the sin: fighting the roots, like every day the men cut the beard.

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