Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Striking the right balance

Both our Jewish brothers and sisters and our Islamic brothers and sisters, as a part of their faith, follow a particular diet, the belief being that there are foods or combinations of foods that are "unclean."

In today's gospel Jesus declares that

Nothing that enters one from outside can defile that person; but the things that come out from within are what defile.

While some individual Christians will try an claim some foods, like alcohol, are sins, this doesn't square with the gospel. Jesus makes clear that nothing we can consume is in itself a sin.

Does that mean it doesn't matter what I eat? Not so fast.

We still believe that gluttony is one of the seven deadly sin.

Perhaps even more important for us, a culture that is obsessed with food, Jesus offers us the observation that we should spend more time focused on what comes out of our mouth than what goes in.

It's not an either/or. It's a both/and. We should pay attention to what we eat not because it is unclean but because we have a responsibility to care for the gift that is our bodies. But we should spend even more time monitoring what we say. We shouldn't eat without thinking, but even more so, we shouldn't speak without thinking.

For a simple test, try to go through one day not say anything that doesn't add to life: no gossp, no criticizing, no complaining, no talking about your aches and pains.

See if you can go one day and say

only such as is good for needed edification, that it may impart grace to those who hear.(Eph 4:29)

It's more difficult than you may think.