Getting To The Heart of the Matter

Mark 7:1-8,14-15,21-13

Jesus is in Galilee with his disciples and the Pharisees travel a great distance from Jerusalem to check him out so to speak, Mark tells us from early on that the powers that be in Jerusalem are plotting to kill Jesus and this journey was designed to give them reason to do just that. Interestingly enough, they are not bold enough to criticize Jesus himself so they point our faults in the lives and practices of the disciples. They call attention to the fact that the disciples neglected to wash their hands prior to eating and this greatly disturbed them.

The Old Testament law required that the priests follow the rules of ritual hand washing if they were to handle holy objects etc. in the temple. This rule had been established by God, however the hand washing before a meal was a law designed by men.

When they questioned Jesus about the disciples neglecting to wash their hands before eating, Jesus reminded them that they the Pharisees, were more interested in doing religion and obeying all the laws they had established, but were not interested in doing justice or following the precepts of God.

This often so true in religious establishments throughout Christianity as well as other religions. People are more interested in observing their own rules than in following God’s commandments. As Jesus said, “You honor me with your lips but your hearts are far from me!”

Our ‘heart’ is the inner core of our lives. It is who we are. It is our whole being! It is our all!

Scripture talks about the ‘heart’ in a variety of ways but it always refers the ‘core of our being’. Love the Lord your God with all your Heart for example. From Proverbs—Trust in the Lord with all your Heart and don’t lean on your own understanding etc.

This story reminds us that we are to empty ourselves of all the Laws and rules that we have established for living and allow ourselves to be filled daily with the love that God has for us and live by grace and faith. We also are called to do the love of God as we Love the Lord our God with all our heart, With all of our strength, and with all our mind and our neighbor as ourselves.