Read Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23
7:1 Now when the Pharisees and some of the scribes who had come from Jerusalem gathered around him,
7:2 they noticed that some of his disciples were eating with defiled hands, that is, without washing them.
7:3 (For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, do not eat unless they thoroughly wash their hands, thus observing the tradition of the elders;
7:4 and they do not eat anything from the market unless they wash it; and there are also many other traditions that they observe, the washing of cups, pots, and bronze kettles.)
7:5 So the Pharisees and the scribes asked him, "Why do your disciples not live according to the tradition of the elders, but eat with defiled hands?"
7:6 He said to them, "Isaiah prophesied rightly about you hypocrites, as it is written, 'This people honors me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me;
7:7 in vain do they worship me, teaching human precepts as doctrines.'
7:8 You abandon the commandment of God and hold to human tradition."
7:14 Then he called the crowd again and said to them, "Listen to me, all of you, and understand:
7:15 there is nothing outside a person that by going in can defile, but the things that come out are what defile."
7:21 For it is from within, from the human heart, that evil intentions come: fornication, theft, murder,
7:22 adultery, avarice, wickedness, deceit, licentiousness, envy, slander, pride, folly.
7:23 All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person."
The Psalm, Old Testament reading and Epistle have all pointed to integrity of heart and action. Living in the presence of God - guided by the wisdom of God. In this passage Jesus challenges the Pharisees to match their hearts to their faith. If their hearts are pure - they will produce pure action.
Hear Jesus say: "This people honours me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me." And ask him to help us to honour him with our hearts.