Wednesday February 8, 2012
An Interesting Turn of Thoughts
Today's gospel reading in particular is one of themore easily passed over because on the surfae Jewish customs mentioned are far removed from our experiences today. When we speak of "unclean foods" in our culture, we focus on pesticides and foods that make individuals even our pets ill or those that bring about death ... and the demise of factories.
This concern for unclean foods, a very important Jewish tradition, was challenged when non-Jews, the Gentiles, were accepted into Christian communities. The questions then was quite simple: did the Gentiles, as par of their convesrion, have to adopt Hebraic practices and laws? in a short perod of time these laws that differentiated the Jews and Gentiles became history. What Jesus was teaching was also short and sweet: it is not food, unclean food, that damages a person's heart and soul. It is a person's own actions that bring uncleanness into a person's very being.
Our true value as a son or daughter of God is damaged by "evil thought, unchastity, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, licentiousness, envy, blasphemy, arrogance, folly." These are the challenges of today's culture.
How interesting is the fallout from the recent HHS mandate regarding implementation of guidelines that call upon all service providers to initiate practices that might violate the "corporate conscience" of individual faith practices.
Various polls make clear the reaction of many Catholics to the mandate. For example, a majority of polled Catholics oppose the government's intrusion into the Church's teachings. At the same time, however, these same polled individuals replied that contraceptive practices bands, for example, as taught by the Catholic Church were not practiced. So, we might ask "What's the story here?"
Perhaps the Holy Spirit has used the HHS and the government's effort to "gallop over" 1st Amendment religious freedom to point out some degrees of duplicity without our ranks. Hmmm. Can I not ask myself this question: How do I live my life as a "practicing Catholic"? Do I find myself not "walking the talk"?