Our Gospel speaks about ritual purity. The Scribes and Pharisees questioning Jesus for violating their practices of purity: washing hands before meals. But Jesus answered them: “It is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person but what comes out of the mouth that defiles.” Friends, we are reminded by today’s Gospel that defilement is moral and spiritual; not physical. The problem is not the stomach but the heart. If we watch our physical appearance but don’t watch our spiritual figure there is something wrong with our diets. Moral cleanliness is more important than ritual purity.
For Jesus, cleanliness is more intrinsic rather than extrinsic. Pretending to be clean externally when you are dirty internally is hypocrisy. What we eat may make us sick but it won’t make us a sinner. It is unhealthy but not unholy. Friends, internalize your externals.
Let us clean both our hands and hearts. It is hypocrisy when we are smiling but are angry. It is hypocrisy when we are praising the Lord but cursing people. It is hypocrisy if we know all the church prayers and devotions but on the other hand we also have a litany of gossip and foul language. It is hypocrisy when your lips are saying I love you but your actions show hurt and hatred. Hypocrites wear white robes but live in darkness. They claim to know God but their actions deny Him. They have clean hands but their hearts are dirty. Cleansing your hands does not make your heart clean.
Warning: Be cautious of people whose actions don’t match their words. Don’t let your lips and your lives preach two different messages.