Join us as we reflect, ponder, and pray together inspired by today's Gospel.
Today's Gospel: Memorial of Saint Scholastica - Mark 7:14-23
In today’s Gospel, Jesus tells the crowd, “There is nothing outside a person that by going in can defile, but the things that come out are what defile.” I find this concept a little challenging. At times, I hear people say that you shouldn’t read a particular book or watch a particular TV show or movie, because doing that particular thing will lead someone straight into the lure of the Devil.
While I don’t deny that we should avoid those things that tempt us, I can’t help but think of what Jesus says here. “For it is from within, from the human heart, that evil intentions come; fornication, theft, murder, adultery, avarice, wickedness, deceit, licentiousness, envy, slander, pride, folly.” So is it really the books or movies themselves that are evil or the intentions we bring into that encounter?
For example, I was once warned not to read The DaVinci Code because it would somehow ruin my Catholic faith. I read the book out of curiosity, and I can’t say it’s damaged my faith in any way. I have enough common sense and knowledge to realize it was a work of fiction and that the author not only had wrong ideas about the Church as an entity, but also about some actual church buildings.
On the other hand, people might assume Christian romance novels are completely harmless. However, I recently heard a Christian author say that romance novels were her “porn.” When she read them, she was tempted to have impure thoughts.
Perhaps this is what Jesus meant when He said that it is what is inside us that defiles us. Books and movies might not be necessarily evil on their own. It’s our intention and our response that makes the difference.
What should I root out of my life because my response to it does not draw me closer to Christ?
Lord, if there are things I read or watch that do not bring me closer to You, help me to realize that this is a sin coming from within me and help me to root it out.
Copyright 2021 Amy J. Cattapan
About the Author
A.J. Cattapan, DM, Ed.D., is an award-winning author, speaker, and teacher. Her YA novel Angelhood and her middle grade book Seven Riddles to Nowhere have won multiple awards, and her book on combating teacher burnout releases in 2021 from Ave Maria Press. She is also the host of BOOK.eD, a Catholic book review program on Shalom World TV. Follow her at AJCattapan.com.