Tell me what comes out of your heart and I will tell you who you really are.
Today’s readings can be found here. Read Fr. Epicoco’s brief reflections on the daily Mass readings, Monday through Saturday, here. For Sunday Mass reading commentary from Fr. Rytel-Andrianik, see here.
Today’s Gospel is extraordinary. It corrects every religious distortion once and for all.
Many times, our religiosity is rather pagan – for example, when we think that certain things can make us “internally impure.” Jesus clearly points out that things are always good. If they hurt us it is because we misuse them – not because they are inherently bad.
A medicine can both poison us or save us; it all depends on the dosage and the use we make of it. Sexuality is a gift from God, but it can become an addiction. Sharing wine is one of the most beautiful gestures of friendship, but abusing it can become a serious illness. Relationships keep us alive, but sometimes they become forms of idolatry. It would be wrong to say that all of these things are inherently bad.
“It is what comes out of a person that defiles. For it is from within, from the human heart, that evil intentions come: fornication, theft, murder, adultery, avarice, wickedness, deceit, licentiousness, envy, slander, pride, folly. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.”
Treatises have been written on each one of the “evil things” that Jesus lists in this passage. But we can also focus on the initial detail alone: It is from the heart of man that the evil that can really hurt us comes out.
We have to watch over our hearts. It is there where our life is decided. Tell me what comes out of your heart and I will tell you who you really are.
Father Luigi Maria Epicoco is a priest of the Aquila Diocese and teaches Philosophy at the Pontifical Lateran University and at the ISSR ‘Fides et ratio,’ Aquila. He dedicates himself to preaching, especially for the formation of laity and religious, giving conferences, retreats and days of recollection. He has authored numerous books and articles. Since 2021, he has served as the Ecclesiastical Assistant in the Vatican Dicastery for Communication and columnist for the Vatican’s daily newspaper L’Osservatore Romano.