THE SERVANT GENERAL
DEFILEMENT FROM WITHIN
February 8, 2012
Today’s gospel: Mark 7:14-23
We live in an impure world. Sexual licentiousness and moral
degradation are the norm. We cannot avoid its pervasiveness,
being all around us--TV shows, movies, magazines, billboards,
Internet. Be that as it may, we are in the world but are not
of it. We cannot, for now, change what is around us, but what
we strive to do is to keep it from becoming a part of us and
determining how we live our lives.
is important, because we might make the influence of the world
around us as our excuse for wrongdoing. Or we might give up
on our struggle for purity because we cannot escape the impurity
around. So Jesus says, “Nothing that enters one from
outside can defile that person; but the things that come out
from within are what defile.” (Mk 7:15).
the world entices, and the evil one tempts, “everything
that goes into a person from outside cannot defile”
(Mk 7:18b), unless we allow it. Now that is the problem. We
face an enemy within, and that is our own flesh. “All
these evils come from within and they defile.” (Mk 7:23).
If we allow the impurity from outside to settle in our minds
and hearts, then this manifests itself in impure conduct.
“But what comes out of a person, that is what defiles.”
are these? Jesus says, “From within people, from their
hearts, come evil thoughts, unchastity, theft, murder, adultery,
greed, malice, deceit, licentiousness, envy, blasphemy, arrogance,
folly.” (Mk 7:21-22). Well, as renewed persons, we are
not guilty of those, are we?
so fast! Consider that such evil comes from the heart, from
within, and then manifests itself in physical wrongdoing.
So even if we do not ultimately act in an impure way, if we
think in an impure way, then we are defiled, we have sinned,
evil has come from within. Some of the greatest sinners might
actually be those who act piously (see Mt 23:27-28). Further,
we might think we have not committed any of the listed sins,
but we could be defiled nonetheless.
Consider the following.
thoughts. Do you think ill of others? Do you plot how to
win through underhanded means (whether in business, sports,
or spiritual work)?
Do you entertain impure thoughts? Do you wear provocative
Have you robbed someone of his good name or reputation?
Do you rob God by not giving a tithe? (See Mal 3:8). Do
you deprive others of what God intends for them by taking
more than your share of the world’s goods? (See Mk
Are you guilty of character assassination, including insulting
epithets? (See Mt 5:21-22).
Have you looked at a woman with lust? (See Mt 5:28).
Do you store up treasures on earth? (See Mt 6:19-21).
Do you wish bad things or misfortune to happen to another,
perhaps someone you consider your enemy? Do you wish for
failure on the part of your “rivals,” even other
Do you dish out disinformation, misinformation or half-truths?
Do you engage in wanton living? In overindulgence? Do you
indulge your passions?
Do you covet what others have?
Have you committed blasphemy against the Holy Spirit by
attributing to Satan what is the very work of God? (See
Do you take sinful pride in your accomplishments, including
spiritual ones? Do you love the honor accorded by men? (See
Do you speak careless words? (See Mt 12:36-37). Is there
unforgiveness in your heart? (See Mt 6:15). Do you neglect
To live pure is to avoid defilement. We do not control that
things out in the world that defile. We do control, by the
grace of God and the strength of His Spirit, what comes from
within. Let us keep our hearts clean and our thoughts untainted,
so that we can truly live pure.
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