Today’s Gospel: Mark 7:14-23
What comes from without and what comes from within…today’s Gospel, taken at surface value, could seem to justify a lack of prudence when it comes to the media we consume and the situations in which we put ourselves. If what comes from the outside can’t defile us, then why should we worry about the ratings of the films we see or the lyrics in the music our kids listen to? It’s how we treat others that counts.
If we’re being honest about human nature, though, we know that what we see and hear do not long remain separated from what we do. My family has a quote up in our home from ancient philosopher Lao Tzu: “Watch your thoughts, they become your words; watch your words, they become your actions,” and so on, until you end up with what has shaped your destiny. In time, what you take in will necessarily inform what you do.
The wisdom and justice we hear about in the first reading and the psalm don’t come from letting just anything in. You are what you eat, they say, and if we’re choosing to consume something crass, resentful, irreverent, or vulgar, then in time we will take on those characteristics ourselves. The media and so on are not themselves to blame. We choose what influences us. We choose whether we counteract the signs we see on the highway with good spiritual reading. We choose whether to turn off the television when something that dishonors human dignity appears on the screen.
I think what Jesus is saying is that we always have a choice. We have an intellect and a will, and the reality is that what we take in forms us. Our actions speak to where our hearts truly lie.
How are you choosing to be formed today? What will you consume?
God, help me to guard my eyes, ears, and heart today, so that I may continue to be formed as Your disciple.
Copyright 2020 Lindsay Schlegel
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