Summary: We all know about protecting our natural environment and the problems we have created in the past but what about moral pollution? Our Sin is moral pollution how can we counteract it?
CLEANING UP OUR ACT.
MARK 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23.
Over the years we have become more and more concerned about protecting our natural environment.
Once such concern was expressed by a few scientists and they were regarded as alarmists.
The rest of the world thought that our earth was so vast and enduring that we could go on abusing it as we please.
But gradually we have been forced to change our way of thinking and we have become more and more concerned about protecting our natural environment.
The latest concern that has recently arisen is the use and disposal of plastic and seeing sea of plastic bottles floating on the surface of the sea is a horrific sight.
Years of abuse and neglect have started to take their toll and it has become increasingly clear that environmental pollution is a very real and immediate problem.
For the first time we are realising that if this earth is to take care of us, then we must learn to take care of it.
Air pollution, water pollution, and soil pollution are no longer topics of discussion among scientists, they are everyday issues in our daily lives.
There is another form of pollution which is just as serious and that is moral pollution.
We must pay our attention to our physical environment, but it is equally important that we should clean up our spiritual environment.
What is the advantage of a clean world, if our own hearts are so polluted that we can't live with ourselves or with our neighbours?
This is precisely Jesus' concern in today's reading from Mark’s gospel.
The Pharisees noticed that Jesus and His followers sometimes ate without first washing their hands.
A Pharisee would never do that. It wasn't a question of personal hygiene but religious ceremony.
They thought that by performing this washing ceremony they could avoid polluting their holy lives with the world's wickedness.
When they raised this issue with Jesus, His response was swift and direct.
He dismissed the Pharisees as hypocrites whose hearts were far from God and then He gathered the crowd around Him and talked to them about the problem of moral pollution.
Sin did not enter them from without, it originated within themselves.
The evil in their lives had to do with the condition of their hearts and minds.
Moral pollution wasn't something the world had done to them rather it was something they were doing to the world.
Jesus summed it up in these words, "All these evil things come from within and make a man unclean."
Now what does all this tell us? It tells us from where moral pollution comes. All we have to do is to look within ourselves.
Sin is not some vague abstraction that floats down from the sky or seeps up from the soil. Sin has to do with you and me.
It is some evil we do or some good we fail to do.
Every wrong deed can be traced back to an individual.
To accept this truth doesn't solve this problem, but at least we know where to begin and the logical place for everyone to begin is in their heart.
We have to correct our evil intentions, stop the flow of unkind words, repent of the evil done and the good left undone.
If we do these things in our lives we will reduce the level of moral pollution in this world.
Moral pollutions affects all of us and sometimes we have to face the facts – I feel such a hypocrite as I’m as guilty as anyone – we all say and do things which are not worthy of our calling to be followers of Jesus Christ.
My test stone, my reference is naturally Holy Scripture and in particular 1Corinthians 13, St Paul’s Hymn of Love but you use it in a special way – you turn each statement into a question.
Love is patient – am I patient?
Love is kind – am I kind?
Love is NOT jealous or boastful – so I boast? Am I ever jealous?
Love is NOT arrogant or rude – am I ever rude, am I arrogant?
The Commandments are simply summed up into two aspects of LOVE – love God and love your neighbour – LOVE.
Today we live in a blame culture – it’s never my fault.
We blame society for the evil in our lives and the evil in society can and does lower the moral tone of people's lives.
But we can't keep on blaming society for the way we behave.
Each one of us has to be responsible for their own actions. That is our only hope of salvation.
We can never overcome our failures as long as we are blaming something or someone other than ourselves.