Wednesday, February 8

Thoughts on today's gospel

Gospel for February 8, 2006

    Mark 7:14-23

    Jesus 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 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.'

I was reading this while eating my breakfast today, oddly enough, and it really hit me hard. So much of my life as a Mormon was spent worrying about what went into my mouth because of my strong belief in the Word of Wisdom. No alcohol and no tobacco wasn't that hard. No coffee was annoying, because I liked coffee and my parents drank coffee, but no tea was really hard because we drank decaf tea in the house, but they didn't serve that in restaurants.

As a teenager, no Cokes was the hardest for me. Even today, when I drink a Coke, I consider it a 'treat'. Growing up, all I ever drank was Sprite/7-up, Root Beer (except Barg's because that has caffeine), and cream sodas/grape sodas/orange sodas/red sodas, etc. No Dr. Pepper, no Big Red, no Coke, no Pepsi, etc. And I LOOOOVED Big Red.

After I left the church, I absolutely grooved on drinking Big Reds. 'Nectar of the Gods' I called it. It was, and still is, good stuff.

I did notice once I got older that my body is extremely sensitive to caffeine most of the time, especially in relation to my hormonal cycles. If I'm PMS'ing, a single cup of coffee can send me into a day-long panic attack. If I'm in the middle of my cycle, I could drink 4-5 glasses of tea with no problem at all.

It's just nice to be in a religion that allows me to consume food and drink according to the dictates of my body and not the dictates of a religion. You know, I don't recollect ever reading this scripture as a Mormon. Then again, this is how it looks in the King James version:
    Mark 7:14-23 (King James Version)

    14 ΒΆ And when he had called all the people unto him, he said unto them, Hearken unto me every one of you, and understand:
    15 There is nothing from without a man, that entering into him can defile him: but the things which come out of him, those are they that defile the man.
    16 If any man have ears to hear, let him hear.
    17 And when he was entered into the house from the people, his disciples asked him concerning the parable.
    18 And he saith unto them, Are ye so without understanding also? Do ye not perceive, that whatsoever thing from without entereth into the man, it cannot defile him;
    19 Because it entereth not into his heart, but into the belly, and goeth out into the draught, purging all meats?
    20 And he said, That which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man.
    21 For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders,
    22 Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness:
    23 All these evil things come from within, and defile the man.

There's quite a bit more clarity in the NAB version then there is in the King James Version. I can see why the Catholic church prefers it.

It also makes me realize that the thought of sin, the internal digestion of choices, seems to weigh much less than the actual act of the sin. I think that is what Jesus was trying to say in this parable in addition to the fact that the Jewish food laws were no longer necessary. Maybe I'll have to see if I can stay up to watch Mass tonight on EWTN and see what their interpretation of these scriptures are.


At 4:55 PM, Blogger Todd said...


I'm a ex-LDS, who, like you, spent many years as an agnostic before finding my way into the Catholic church. I just wanted to say "hi" and let you know that you are indeed on the right path.(not that you didn't know that already)




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