FIRST READING
The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden.
A reading from the Book of Genesis (Genesis 2:4b-9. 15- 17)

In the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens, when no plant of the field was yet in the earth and no herb of the field had yet sprung up — for the Lord God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was no man to till the ground; but  a mist went up from the earth and watered the whole face of the ground — then the Lord God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became   a living soul. And the Lord God planted a garden in Eden, in the east; and there he put the man whom he had formed. And out of the ground the Lord God made to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food, the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to till it and keep it. And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “You may freely eat of every tree of the garden; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall die.”

The word of the Lord.

RESPONSORIAL PSALM  Psalm  104:1 -2a.27-28.29bc-30 (R. 1a)
R/. Bless the Lord, O my soul!

Bless the Lord, O my soul!
O Lord my God, how great you are,
clothed in majesty and honour,
wrapped in light as with a robe! R.

All of these look to you
to give them their food in due season.
You give it, they gather it up;
you open Wide your hand, they are well filled. R.

R/. Bless the Lord, O my soul!

You take away their breath, they die,
returning to the dust from which they came.
You send forth your spirit, and they are created,
and you renew the face of the earth. R.

ALLELUIA   John 17: 17ba
Alleluia. Your word, O Lord, is truth; sanctify us in the truth. Alleluia.

GOSPEL
“The things which come out of a man are what defile him!”
A reading from the holy Gospel according to Mark (Mark7: 14-23)

At that time: Jesus called the people to him again, and said to them, “Hear me, all of you, and understand: there is nothing outside a man which by going into him can defile him; but the things which come out of a man are what defile him.” And when he had entered the house, and left the people, his disciples asked him about the parable. And he said to them, “Then are you also without understanding? Do you not see that whatever goes into a man from outside cannot defile him, since it enters, not his heart but his stomach, and so passes on?” (Thus he declared all foods clean.) And he said, “What comes out of a man is what defiles a man. For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, fornication, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, licentiousness, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within and they defile a man.”

The Gospel of the Lord.

Today’s Reflection
In a very cosmetic age like ours, when external beauty and appearance is overly admired and celebrated, Jesus reminds us that it is what we carry within that is of greater importance. Purity before God does not consist of washing hands but in having a clean heart – a heart emptied of evil. Thus, we must pay greater attention to the state of our inner being. The list Jesus offers spanning from grave vices such as fornication, theft and murder to indecency, pride and folly not only provides a good tool for examination of conscience but reminds us that the seemingly small sins are capable of serious consequences when left unattended. Look within, take nothing for granted!

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