Kosher Hearts

“Kosher Hearts”
A reflection on Mark 7:14-23
Wednesday of the Fifth Week in Ordinary Time
©2022 by Gloria M. Chang

He 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 a person, that is what defiles. From within people, from their hearts, 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

Jesus, a circumcised, first-born son of Jewish parents who was consecrated to the Lord in the temple, followed Mary and Joseph in observing the Mosaic laws (Luke 2:22-24). Their table in Nazareth must have been kosher. However, in Jesus’ confrontation with the scribes and Pharisees concerning their dietary laws, he zeroed in on the essence of the Torah’s teaching: purity of heart.

My sacrifice, O God, is a contrite spirit; a contrite, humbled heart, O God, you will not scorn.

Psalm 51:17 (19)

Digestive processes do not tarnish the soul, the mirror of God. Rather, evil thoughts and intentions of the heart defile it.

The word “kosher” comes from kasher (“to be proper, lawful”), and thus “clean” or “pure.” The end of the law is to shine within and without with the pure light of God.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

Philippians 4:8

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