Tuesday, 18th Week in Ordinary Time
For us to understand today’s gospel passage, we must try to understand the background of Jewish pharisaic and scribal religion. It is a religion that gives much emphasis on the whole concept of being clean and unclean. Their concept of cleanliness is entirely a ceremonial matter. For the people to be clean was for them to be in a state where they might worship and approach God. For them to be unclean was for them to be in a state where such a worship and approach were impossible.
For Jesus, uncleanness is a matter of what proceeds from the human heart. What concerns Jesus is not people’s diet, but their heart condition. Para kay Hesus, ang dapat nating bantayan at bigyang-pansin ay kung ano ang inilalaman natin puso a natin na lumalabas sa buong pagkatao natin. Jesus is interested in the stirrings of our heart – the personal issues that preoccupy us and influence our choices and behavior. “It is not what enters one’s mouth that defiles that person; but what comes out of the mouth is what defiles.”
In another gospel passage, Jesus says, “Nothing that enters one from outside can defile that person; but the things that come out from within are what defile.”
What Jesus is simply saying is that instead of looking outside or looking at things from the outside to see the root of sin, we must look inside and examine our hearts. Suriin natin ang puso natin at tingnan ang nilalaman nito –tingnan ang mga bagay na pinag-uugatan ng pagkakasala natin. Because it is from our hearts that evil things come – and they defile!
The big question that arises from all of this is, “Are we guilty of failing to address the root causes of sin in our lives?” More often than not we put the blame on external factors for our faults, failures and shortcomings. We blame other people, particularly the significant persons in our lives, the circumstances or conditions of our lives, the things that have been done and have not been done to us. Instead of seeing and accepting our faults and failures as a result of our choices, we blame them on others.
We must realize that it is our primary choice within and under our control that has led to or at least contributed to the manifestations of sin that we observe in our lives. Adam and Eve were great blamers of others for their sins. The only way to get rid of our sins and, more importantly, the causes of our sins is to take responsibility for them and then do something about them. (Steve Tynan)