Gospel: Mk 7:14-23
Jesus then called the people to him again and said to them, “Listen to me, all of you, and try to understand. Nothing that enters a person from the outside can make that person unclean. It is what comes from within that makes a person unclean. Let everyone who has ears listen.“
When Jesus got home and was away from the crowd, his disciples asked him about this saying, and he replied, “So even you are dull? Do you not see that whatever comes from outside cannot make a person unclean, since it enters not the heart but the stomach, and is finally passed out?“
Thus Jesus declared that all foods are clean.
And he went on, “What comes out of a person is what defiles him, for evil designs come out of the heart: theft, murder, adultery, jealousy, greed, maliciousness, deceit, indecency, slander, pride and folly. All these evil things come from within and make a person unclean.“
“Spark of the divine in man“
The creation of man is the apex of the creation account. The second account of the creation of man in Genesis 2 underlines on the one hand man’s “creatureliness,“ that man is dust; on the other hand man has an awesome dignity–the breath of life in man is from God! There is something “divine“ in all men! Man alone has a “soul!“ There is in each person a “spark of the divine“ not present in other creatures! God has, in creating man, shared His own life with lowly man!
Unfortunately, the painful story of man is that many times man has marred the “shadow of the divine“ in man. The many inhumanities committed against the weak and vulnerable, women and children, offends the God who has his image in each and every human person. Any inhumanity is a disrespect to God who imprinted His image in every person!
The Sudanese Saint Josephine Bakhita, whose memorial we celebrate today, is a statement of our Faith against the brutal history of slavery and any inhumanity! But this Saint became a Saint not because she suffered so much but because when she received the Faith she would be able to pray and forgive all who had made her suffer. Though wounded in her “creatureliness“ she was able to make the “spark of the divine“ in her to rise and mirror the face of our God who forgives!