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Mar 27th
Home Sections The Daily B.R.E.A.D. February 11, 2009 - Wednesday Gospel Mark 7:14-23
February 11, 2009 - Wednesday Gospel Mark 7:14-23 PDF Print E-mail
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Sections - The Daily B.R.E.A.D.
Monday, 09 February 2009 23:47
If today you are feeling the heat of the fire , remember  that God has his eye on you and will keep watching you until  He sees His image in you.
Genesis 2:4b-9, 15-17
Psalm 104:1-2a, 27-28, 29bc-30

Mark 7:14-23  And he called the people to him again, and said to them, "Hear me, all of  you, and understand: 15 there is nothing outside a man which by going into him can defile him; but the things which come out of a man are what defile him." 17 And when he had entered the house, and left the people, his disciples asked him about the parable. 18 And he said to them, "Then are you also without understanding? Do you not see that whatever goes into a man from outside cannot defile him, 19 since it enters, not his heart but his stomach, and so passes on?" (Thus he declared all foods clean.) 20 And he said, "What comes out of a man is what defiles a man. 21 For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, fornication, theft, murder, adultery, 22 coveting, wickedness, deceit, licentiousness, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. 23 All these evil things come from within, and they defile a man."

Meditation by Ray Bucko, S.J. (Department of Anthropology and Sociology)

Ever work with clay?  Way back when I was a high school teacher at Red Cloud on Pine Ridge one of the art teachers offered to teach ceramics to any interested faculty member in the evenings.  Now in those days the volunteers and  Jesuits did not have a lot of money so a group of us realized that we could become artistic AND make gifts for our family and friends since Christmas was near upon us.  So I signed up for this class  -- the instructor was looking for deep artistic engagement while I was more into mass production - make as many gifts as possible.  Some negotiation of expectations was needed as I began my learning experience. 

The readings today talk about a classic binary opposition - inside and outside.  What comes out of a person is what defiles a person, not what goes into a person.   The gospel writer attributes this to the lifting of the Jewish prohibition on certain foods.  We can take it further.  It is our heart that can hurt or heal, that can defile us or purify us, can be sealed in stone through indifference or can be broken open in compassion.   It was not the fruit that defiled our first parents but their neglect of God's wishes.   This was an interior flaw rather than a poor food choice, a matter of the inside and not simply the outside.  

Before I started working with clay in this class I thought there was only an outside of clay - color and texture.  But besides a taste of an artistic temperament in the face of utilitarianism, I learned a lot about the inside of clay.  Before you can use clay to form an object you must work it carefully.  You have to wedge the clay to work out any air bubbles that could destroy the object when it is fired.  You can also add different substances to the clay for strength and texture.  Ultimately, you must handle and work the clay for a considerable amount of time to make it ready to be shaped and fired.   

Both scriptures today talk about obedience to God's plan and the focus of that obedience - our hearts.  We need to look inside and attend  to what God asks of and for us - to be obedient, to be containers of God's goodness, to bring forth goodness for ourselves and others rather than defilement and destruction.  Both readings ask us to look inside and take responsibility for our actions and choices. 

Working with clay has taught me the value of working on the inside - we need to examine our inner thoughts and motivations, to both let God in and to work with ourselves gently to transform our inner selves, to be clay in God's hands to be strengthened and purified and to work with ourselves and not be discouraged by flaws but to work them out.  
Ever work on yourself?  Clearly you are doing this right now by hearing these readings and exploring them further.   God works with our inner being, much like the potter works with clay, to make us strong and stable.  We too must be willing and ready for this hard work on ourselves. 

Learning about preparing clay slowed down my visions of mass production and instant gifts - it took a considerable amount of time to prepare some clay for a vessel - but that was the point - we need to take time to prepare what's within us and to allow God in to work with us in the process.  This is not immediate but gradual - so that from our hearts obedience, love, compassion, generosity, selflessness will flow. 

I reached a happy compromise with the art teacher and made fewer attractive and inspired gifts rather than mass produced plentitude.  I learned that mass production would not work to make a worthy vessel. I had to prepare the clay carefully - so too we need to gently work with ourselves, our inner selves, and allow Christ in to work with us as you have today in taking this reading to heart (notice the image), so that from the vessels which are our selves will pour forth God's goodness and blessings. 
Supplementary Reading
When I see MImage in It  - Author Unknown
Malachi 3:3 -   'He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver.'
This verse puzzled some women in a Bible study and they  wondered what this statement meant about the character and  nature of God.
One of the women offered to find out the process of  refining silver and get back to the group at their next  Bible Study.
That week, the woman called a silversmith and made an  appointment to watch him at work. She didn't mention  anything about the reason for her interest beyond her  curiosity about the process of refining Silver.
As she watched the silversmith, he held a piece of silver  over the fire and let it heat up.  He explained that in refining silver, one needed to hold  the silver in the middle of the fire where the flames were  hottest as to burn away all the impurities.
The woman thought about God holding us in such a hot spot;  then she thought again about the verse that says:   'He sits as a refiner and purifier of silver.'   She asked the silversmith if it was true that he had to sit  there in front of the fire the whole time the silver was  being refined.
The man answered that yes,he not only had to sit there  holding the silver, but he had to keep his eyes on the  silver the entire time it was in the fire. If the silver was  left a moment too long in the flames, it would be destroyed.
The woman was silent for a moment. Then she asked the  silversmith, 'How do you know when the silver is fully  refined?'
He smiled at her and answered, 'Oh, that's easy  -- when I see my image in it..'
If today you are feeling the heat of the fire , remember  that God has his eye on you and will keep watching you until  He sees His image in you.

Many who plan to seek God at the 11th hour, die at 10:30    -Unknown

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Last Updated on Tuesday, 10 February 2009 07:14

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