Living in Christ: Pure In Heart

22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

August 29, 2021

First Reading: Deuteronomy 4:1-2, 6-9

Second Reading: James 1:13-18

Responsorial Psalm: 15:1-5

Gospel Reading: Mark 7:14-23

Our gospel talks about how Jesus is confronted by the religious leader because His disciples were eating without ceremonially cleansing their hands. Once again, Jesus and the disciples were not living up to the religious standards of the scribes and Pharisees.

Jesus first responds to them by pointing out their hypocrisy and their misuse of the law of God. (Mark 7: 1 -13) External obedience cannot take the place of inner submission. Going through our “Sunday Motions” should not take the place of daily Christian living.

Our outward obedience must be a manifestation of what’s in our hearts. The problem is our heart. Our need is not outward conformity but heart transformation. We need to take care of our inner lives. It’s what comes from within that affects us. We can resist the evil and negative things from the outside.

What motivates us, is it the love of God or the love of self? The condition of our hearts will determine the state of our lives. (V. 21-23) The religious system of the day placed a lot of emphasis on outward, physical defilement, and ritual purification.

But Jesus explains that evil desires come from inside a person’s innermost being. Sin does not happen. It springs from the innermost recesses of our thoughts and intentions from the secret desires which only the individual can conceive.

What fills our hearts comes out of our lives. It will either bless us or defile us. It will either cause us to walk in victory or defeat.

We must guard our hearts ( Prov. 4:23). We have a choice as to what will come out of our hearts.

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