Lessons in Defiling

Jesus 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 the man, that is what defiles him.
From within the man, from his heart,
come evil thoughts, unchastity, theft, murder,
adultery, greed, malice, deceit,
licentiousness, envy, blasphemy, arrogance, folly.
All these evils come from within and they defile."  Mark 7:14-23 (NAB)
Looks like Our Savior is getting a bit graphic in today's Gospel!  I supposed he wanted to get the disciples' attention and He's surprised that they don't understand what he meant.
I heard a co-worker the other day spew on another co-worker.  I cringed.  It was uncalled for.  Had I gotten involved, the co-worker who had done the spewing, would have turned on me and it would have gotten out of hand.  Some people just like to set up the bait and wait for someone to take it.  The spewer in this case also considers themselves a Christian which makes the whole thing even more disturbing.
I've always felt that evil is more subtle then what we see portrayed in movies.  It's not an "in your face" kind of thing for the most part.  Evil can be in the every day and the little things that we do and not realize it.  Or we allow it.  
I suppose, I could have tried to stop my co-worker, but I knew what would have happened.  I have been on the other end of this person's rant and learned early on to take a breath, say a prayer and wait for them to calm down.  This person is not going to change so I'm the one who has to change my reaction.  It's tough.  I've bitten my tongue on numerous occasions, but felt that it was better then saying something (especially from "one Christian to another," which would completely send them over the edge!)
I know that Christ listed some pretty heavy duty defiling acts in today's Gospel, but to me, we break each other down with the little snide remarks or the bit of gossip we picked up about someone that we feel the need to pass on for the soul purpose of tearing down another.  But why?
Maybe it is arrogance, or envy or being mean is so delicious that we can't get enough of those terrible words in our mouth.  It's a giddy, satisfying feeling of oneupmanship that even when I'm in the throws of doing it, I still don't understand it.

Leave a comment