In today’s Gospel Mark sums up Our Lord’s words by saying, “Thus he declared all foods clean.”
Mark went on to quote Jesus as saying it is not what goes into us that makes us unclean, but what comes out of our hearts. As coming from the heart Jesus specified, “Evil thoughts, unchastity, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice deceit.”
That seems to be so obvious, that it needn’t be mentioned, but perhaps we could use a check up on the thoughts. (I can’t pass up the old joke about the boy who confessed to having impure thoughts. The priest asked, “Did you entertain impure thoughts? and the boy answered, “No, Father, they entertained me.)
The principle difference between the Law of Moses and the Sermon on the Mount is that Moses looked to doing away with outward bad behavior such as adultery and murder, while Jesus looked to doing away with inward evils such as lust and anger.
As obvious as the need to watch over our thoughts might seem, people are not always aware of that need. I was a third year high school boy when the reading in the chapel made me aware of the need and possibility of keeping my thoughts true.
Then, back in the fifties when the Buddhist monks were rebelling against the government of Viet Nam, Life Magazine did an interview with the leading monk. As part of the interview the reporter questioned the monk about his admirable moral code. The monk listed all the forms of indulgence he had to avoid; but in the matter of his private thoughts, he insisted that his code put no limits on his passionate thoughts of any variety.