All foods are clean
February 12, 2020
5th Week in Ordinary
Time1st Reading: 1 Kgs 10:1-10Gospel: Mk 7:14–23
JESUS called the people to him again and said to them, “Listen to me, all of you, and try to understand. Nothing that enters one from outside can make that person unclean. It is what comes out from within that makes one unclean. Let everyone who has ears listen.” When Jesus got home and was away from the crowd, his disciples asked him about this saying and he replied, “So even you are dull? Do you not see that whatever comes from outside cannot make a person unclean? Since it enters, not the heart but the stomach and is finally passed out.” Thus Jesus declared that all foods are clean.
And he went on, “What comes out of a person is what defiles, for evil designs come out of the heart: theft, murder, adultery, jealousy, greed, maliciousness, deceit, indecency, slander, pride and folly. All these evil things come from within and make a person unclean
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After the priest blessed the food at a party, the emcee who hated priests sarcastically remarked: “The lechon should now be cholesterol-free; the priest has just blessed it.” Nobody took him seriously. Everyone knows that the prayer before meals is not meant to alter the nature of pork. Porkwill always be unhealthy especially when taken without restraint. Pork was also forbidden during the Old Testament period but not for health reasons. The Jews were so preoccupied with staying clean before God’s eyes to the point that they also avoided certain kinds of food. Among the foods forbidden were those derived from the meat of camels,rabbits, and pigs (Deut. 14:4-8). Eating any of these was enough to be considered unclean and to be denied entry to the Temple.
Today there are still religions that forbid the eating of pork. But food intake cannot measure the spiritual cleanliness of a person. The New Testament already resolved this issue when Jesus declared that all foods are clean (Mk 7:19). More than the kind of food eaten, Jesus was concerned about what comes out of the person’s mouth. Jesus made specific mention of the following: theft, murder, adultery, jealousy, greed, maliciousness, deceit, indecency, slander, pride and folly.
Such are the things that define a person’s spirituality because these come fromthe depths of his heart. To understand the point of Jesus we can go back to what the emcee said after the priest blessed the food. Wasn’t issuing that sarcastic remark against the priest more “unclean” than partaking of that delicious lechon wholeheartedly? – (Atty.) Fr. Dan Domingo P. delos Angeles Jr., JD, DM, MAPM, MMExM, LPT, REB
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