Strong Core

Readings for Wednesday February 10, 2010

Memorial of Saint Scholastica, virgin

First Reading: 1 Kings 10:1-10
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 37
Gospel: 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." (Mk 7:14-23)

For years we have been seeing infomercials that sell products that are supposedly guaranteed to give us the perfect midsection. The people on the commercials tell us that using their product only 10 minutes a day will give us perfect six pack abs. Of course they don't mention anything about needing to do cardio exercising and eating right as well. It seems to be the goal of most people wanting to get in shape to strive for the perfect middle, the perfect core. We seem to equate fitness with having a slim, defined midsection; if this weren't the case then these machines would not sell so well. In a way, I kind of agree with this mentality,I do believe that it is extremely important to have a good core, but I am not talking about abdominal muscles ... I am talking about the heart.

Jesus tell us today that it is not what goes into a person that defiles, but rather what's inside that defiles. This is because it is what's inside someones heart that shows in their lives. Jesus lists the things that can defile a person, things that do not belong in the heart. Unfortunately, because of the fall and because of sin in the world, we have opened our hearts to these things that defile, instead of things that build us up. Because of this, we need to get spiritually fit and begin doing some core work. Even though we are affected by our fallen nature, by the grace of God we can overcome that. God makes all things new, and even though we may have these things in our hearts, He can help us clean things out and work on that strong core.

Instead of filling our hearts with things that defile our lives; let us begin building a strong core through a daily regimen of prayer, scripture, building virtue, and spreading the good news of Christ.

Father above, we thank you and praise you for the gift of this day. Lord, thank you for all you have blessed us with and all that you have given. Lord, your love and mercy are so great, greater than anything that we have done, help us to see your love and mercy in our lives and to share that with others. Lord, we do not deserve you, thank you for wanting us, and help us to dedicate our lives to you and to never stray. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.

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