Friday, 28 August 2009

All these evil things come from within (Mk 7:23)

Not a very nice title, I know, but I like to put a quote from the Sundays Gospel (Mark 7:1-8,14-15,21-23) in the title and there was nothing that really jumped out at me. Still being at home on holidays, although almost at the end now, I haven't meditated that much on this gospel yet, and as such take the liberty to go a bit off the topic.

Ussually two things (at least) strike me when I am at home. The first the apparent gloominess of the world when I take "a holiday away from God" and secondly, especially taking to some old friends, the negativity I get regarding Christianity. It always disturbs me, and makes me uneasy... as on the one hand I sense the emptyness of a life without God, which I now perceive is in a way a hell, and it makes me appriciate the difference it makes to know God, to know His love and to have him actively in my life.

I guess it is one of those things you get used to, to have God near, and it is only when you move to a society which is so completely different from the normal cloister life that I really realise this. That is what I often say about prayer (or generally our relation with God), we do not really feel we progress or even that it exists, but we experience and realise the emptyness sometimes only when we cease.

It seems so obvious to me that there is something lacking... and it is all there, given to us as a gift...

But then there is the negativity I get about Christianity, and I realise one of the points of which this Sundays Gospel might speak. If we know Jesus, if we claim to be His follower, we have to life according to this as well. Where is the joy of knowing Christ, where is the charity, the love? Should this not flow forth as a result?

"This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the precepts of men." (Mk 7:6-7)

Jesus says "You leave the commandment of God, and hold fast the tradition of men" (Mk 7-9). Jesus gave us a new commandment, to love as God loves (Cf. Jn 13-34)... so that should be our aim (even though the bar is put high, we can try and live up to it as best as we can). If we are trully followers of Christ, then as in the early Christian era people will see the love which flows forth from knowing Jesus, they will see the joy, experience the charity.

Just going through the motions is not enough, it is our heart God wants, it is our innner disposition that counts. And it is not only God who sees the heart of men, but this disposition also shines through in some way in everything we do. The commends made to me about christians are generally that we are hypocritical, and that is exactly what Jesus is warning us about all the time... "For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts [...]" (Mk 7:21), if our dispoistion is not good, our practices will be accordingly. Charitable outward practices and apperances should be the result of our innner disposition...

Well, just some thoughts on this, and I hope the above gives a sense of my musings. It can be so difficult to be unable to share the fire within with others, especially if their hearts are closed because of the withness of us ourselves (and I put myself in the 'us' first of all). The gift of faith is really a treasure...

 "The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up; then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field." (Mt 13:44)

Let us treasure it as such and let it radiate out to others...

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