Genesis 2:4-9, 15-17
Psalm 104:1-2, 27-30
"Nothing that enters one from outside can defile that person; but the things that come out from within are what defile." As we hear in this portion of the gospel, the Lord is speaking to the Jews about ritual cleansing and purity. The Jews of Christ's day believed that certain foods were unable to be eaten because they would make you unclean and that there were certain ceremonies for doing things to ensure 'cleanness' of one's self and thus the ability to enter the Temple to worship. What the Lord points out to his listeners is that the truth is not what goes in the body but rather what comes out of it that is important. As with the body, so also with the soul.
I'm sure each of us has experiences at least weekly if not daily things that frustrate us, that try us, or that sometimes almost break us. Those are the times to recall this gospel passage that we hear today. Sure, bad things happen but the more important part of things is our reaction to them. I find it interesting that today we also hear the story of God placing Adam in the Garden of Eden to have dominion over it, that same garden which contains the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. There, Adam will soon be faced with an outside disturbance from the serpent, Satan, and he is forced to make a response. And from his heart will issue that response of pride and self-exaltation. For us who read these two scripture passages side by side today, we hear the Church and the Lord reminding us of the importance of the response to things that may come at us throughout our days. May the Lord give us the grace to choose well and respond according to His most holy will.