Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Homily: The Evil Within (Mark 7:14-23)

This afternoon at 5:30 pm, I presided at the Novena-Mass in our parish church. This was the homily I preached:

The Evil Within

There are many people today who avoid certain kinds of food – such as lechon, dinuguan or shrimps –
because these are dangerous to their health.
These could make them fat, or these are bad for their heart.
There are however others who do so for different reasons.
Jewish religion during the time of Jesus was very particular about what should not be eaten
Behind this was the belief that to eat the wrong kind of food would make a person unclean – a sinner.

In our Gospel today Jesus reminds us that what makes us unclean or what makes us sinners is not what we eat-
not what enters our mouth and pass through our digestive system.
Rather it is what comes from our hearts –
the evil within us – the greed, selfishness, avarice, angel, lust which can lead one
to murder, to steal, to commit adultery, to lie –
these are what makes us unclean, that will make us sinners.

Today we find ourselves in the midst of evil
There is so much corruption in our land –
from the barangay level up to the highest level in government, within the judiciary,
the various government offices,
within the military and police forces.
The petty thieves are in prison while the big ones rule the land.
Murder is committed not just by common criminals but by those who occupy high government offices.
The political killings and the summary killings continue with the inspiration, support and blessing of the powers that be.
Those who go after criminals have become criminals.
Drugs continue to destroy our youth.
The pushers and addicts have been targeted for assassination while the drug lords buy their freedom.
All of these come, not from what we eat, but from the hearts of people.
If we want to struggle against evil, it is not enough to reform our political system, structures and institutions.
What is needed is to root out the evil within us and in the hearts of people – a kind of exorcism.
There is a need to root out greed, anger, selfishness, pride, avarice, lust.
We have to allow Christ to liberate us from the slavery to sin and evil.
What is needed is personal conversion that leads to social transformation.

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