“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)
This gospel passage makes me think of the composting process. In our composts we place a lot of muck; our food scraps, things that are “wasteful”, and through these scraps, these discarded items evolves fruitful soil where new life can be born.
If we view our hearts, our souls, our minds, and all that is within us as a compost for Christ we will be able to grasp some more understanding of the parable that Jesus presents us with in today’s Gospel reading.
Can we take that which is seemingly defiled and turn it into new soil? Can we bring forth new life from that which seeks to break us? Surely we can if we remain rooted in our faith and continually seek union with Christ. Regardless of what is thrown at us from the outside we can conquer it within by striving for a purity of heart and ongoing desire to follow Jesus. We can bring forth new soil and encourage new life around us.
Today’s society throws many counter Christian ideals at us. It is undoubtedly difficult to remain rooted and to protect ourselves entirely from the exterior temptations that confront us. It is unnatural though, and even spiritually immature to want to hide or live in some Heaven infused oasis while here in the trenches of our temporal earthen journey. These are the grounds for working out our salvation, this reality is where we are invited to witness Christ and all that it entails. If we as Catholics only ever sought to exist together without the chance to encounter others then we would definitely be living in some disillusioned reality, and arguably one that isn’t very Christian at all.
Yes, fellowship is essential, but from there we must go out proclaiming, even if just by deed the reason for our joy and our hope!
We must encounter the mess, it not only tests our spirit but affirms us in our convictions. Our encounter with the messiness and ugliness of sin also exposes our human weaknesses that we are called to take into prayer and fight with supernatural aid.
Jesus entered the mess. He walked amidst the sinners, ate with them, spoke with them, and healed them. He shows us in this way that by being united to God and rooted strongly in Truth that we are aided in facing that which can defile and turn it into new soil.
We are simultaneously called to guard that which is within, by keeping near Christ through the Eucharist. We should also make a habit of emptying our interior compost bin at the “sin bin” (a.k.a. the confessional) time and time again to renew ourselves by keeping all the muck in check.
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