“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.” (Mark 7:18-23)
You know, the last time I gave a homily on this particular passage of St. Mark, a couple approached me after Mass. They offered me the best compliment I have ever received in my life.
“Father, when you preach, you sound like Captain Kirk, of the starship Enterprise.”
Anyway. First officer Spock, Uhuru, Sulu, Checkov, all my dear crew—let’s try to eat healthy. Lord Jesus obviously wants us to eat wholesomely, so that we can digest our sustenance properly.
But, if you’ll forgive me: Seems to be another upshot to the passage as well. Actually, the healthy digestion message would appear to take second place. Eat healthy, saith the Lord, to be sure. But He also seems to be saying: Avoid sin.
Don’t lie. Don’t nurse jealousy. Don’t order people around arrogantly. Don’t indulge yourself. Don’t be mean, or bitter, or self-righteous, or petty.
Because these things do a great deal more damage to us than a thousand-calorie milkshake.
We want good digestion and washboard stomachs, yes. But, more than that—much more than that—we want pure hearts. We want upright hearts. We want hearts at peace with our Maker.
Large milkshakes can make a person fat. But gossip and lust and impatience and a quick fuse can make a person defiled, says the Lord—and that’s worse. Lots of Big Macs? Probably not good. But: Selfishness? Self-centeredness? Worse.
So let’s eat healthy and be kind, humble, chaste, forbearing, faithful, honest, and disciplined, too.