Making Greed History
Holy Father, prepare my heart for the reading of Your Word. May it challenge, encourage, and convict me.
Read Mark 7:14-23
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
We will emulate Jesus’ way of subverting morally bankrupt powers only when Jesus touches our innermost hearts, as he guides us towards his harvest of justice and peace.
In recent years we have seen consumerism gathering momentum even in traditional societies in Asia and Africa. Massive strikes in South Africa, democratic movements in the Islamic world, and riots across England are expressions of an aspiration for a better way of life. Following Jesus in this maelstrom of social restlessness is as challenging now as it was for the disciples when Jesus opposed the corruption of first-century Palestine.
In today’s passage, Jesus deals skillfully, as before, with his detractors, the officials of civic power in Jerusalem. He dissipates their attention-seeking opportunism by addressing his teaching to a larger audience (14). His focus is still a public exposé of the morally bankrupt and economically unjust purity code in the temple sacrificial system (15). Is it the fearsome implications of Jesus’ open challenge to the injustices of the society he lived in that make the disciples blind and deaf to Jesus’ message (18), so that he has to spell it out? Mark flags the significance: Jesus has now dared to declare both outcasts and all foods to be touchable and clean (19, 1:41).
As ever, Jesus goes further, showing that the roots of evil systems rise out of rebellious, self-centered human hearts (20-22). The things we hate most about injustice in our societies can be projections of our own deepest flaws. Jesus reminds us, as do the Ten Commandments, that we are the societies we long to see transformed.
Picture the beautiful and nourishing gifts you have received from a garden. Ask the Holy Spirit for a gardener’s heart, so you’ll be ready to receive deep spade work and responsive to God’s seasons.
Lord, renew Your Church and Your world, but begin with me. Help me subdue my ungodly impulses and, by Your Spirit, bring forth God-glorifying fruit.
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