Ordinary Time Week 18: Tuesday

“It is not what enters one’s mouth that defiles that person; but what comes out of the mouth is what defiles one.” (Matthew 15:11)

Origen of Alexandria comments on this verse from the Gospel proclaimed at Mass today:

”Now anyone who has come to this place in the text can agree that it is “not what goes into the mouth that defiles a man, but what comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man,” even if it is considered to be defiling by Jews. In exactly the same way it is “not what enters into the mouth” that makes the person holy. This is so even if that which is called the bread of the Lord is considered to make the person holy by some of the more impeccable disciples. The two cases are similar. It is not the food but the conscience of the one who eats with doubt about its propriety that defiles the person who has eaten. For “the one who doubts is condemned if one eats, because one is not eating from faith.” It is also like the case in which “nothing is pure to the one who is defiled and unbelieving.” The thing involved is impure not because of itself but because of the person’s defilement and unbelief. In the same way, that which is “made holy through the word of God and prayer” does not on its own account make the one who uses it holy. For if it did, it would also make holy the one who eats of the Lord “in an unworthy manner” and no one would become “weak” or “sickly” or would “sleep” because of this food. For this is what Paul showed in the statement, “Because of this many among you are weak and sickly and a significant number are falling asleep.” Therefore, in the case of the bread of the Lord, the one who uses it derives benefit when one shares in the bread with a mind that is undefiled and a conscience that is pure.” (Commentary on Matthew, 11)

Draw near to Your servants, O Lord,
and answer their prayers with unceasing kindness,
that, for those who glory in You
as their Creator and guide,
You may restore what You have created
and keep safe what You have restored.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,
who lives and reigns with You
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

Glory to the Father
and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning,
is now, and will be forever. Amen