“This people honors me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.”
Since Jesus spoke about lips that honored Him, I cannot help but think of the many incorruptible saints. When we say incorruptible, these are saints whose body or some parts of their bodies defied the natural process of decomposition. Some of the most famous among them are St. Bernadette, the visionary of Lourdes, St. Rita of Cascia, the 19th Century saint Luigi Orione and many others.
There are also those saints who did not have the grace of their whole body being incorrupt, instead, only certain body parts. St. Anthony’s tongue, for instance, is incorrupt since he is known to have preached much during his life. The right arm of St. Maria Goretti is incorrupt. It was said that this was the arm that tried to fend-off the forceful Alessandro who tried to rape her. Who could forget the incorrupt hearts of St. Camillus and St. Padre Pio that even visited our country a few years back? These hearts tenderly loved God when they were still beating!
Incorruptibility is said to be a sign of holiness. These bodies or these parts of the body belonged to a saintly person who glorified God when he or she was still alive. I now know that my whole body will completely and swiftly decompose after death because it is the law of nature. Sometimes I wonder though which part of my body would decompose first when I die.
I am reminded that our bodies and all its parts should be dedicated for the glory of God all throughout our lives. Jesus, in today’s Gospel, showed us that we can truly honor Him not only with the works of our bodies but more importantly with the intentions of our hearts. May God continue to inspire us to glorify Him, in body and soul.
By: Sem. Tristan Ralf Q. Pacheco
Mk 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23
When the Pharisees with some scribes who had come from Jerusalem
gathered around Jesus,
they observed that some of his disciples ate their meals
with unclean, that is, unwashed, hands.
—For the Pharisees and, in fact, all Jews,
do not eat without carefully washing their hands,
keeping the tradition of the elders.
And on coming from the marketplace
they do not eat without purifying themselves.
And there are many other things that they have traditionally observed,
the purification of cups and jugs and kettles and beds. —
So the Pharisees and scribes questioned him,
“Why do your disciples not follow the tradition of the elders
but instead eat a meal with unclean hands?”
“Well did Isaiah prophesy about you hypocrites, as it is written:
This people honors me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me;
in vain do they worship me,
teaching as doctrines human precepts.
You disregard God’s commandment but cling to human tradition.”
He summoned the crowd again and said to them,
“Hear me, all of you, and understand.
Nothing that enters one from outside can defile that person;
but the things that come out from within are what defile.
“From within people, from their hearts,
come evil thoughts, unchastity, theft, murder,
adultery, greed, malice, deceit,
licentiousness, envy, blasphemy, arrogance, folly.
All these evils come from within and they defile.”