Week 5 of Ordinary Time, Wednesday – 12th February — Gospel: Mark 7,14-23
All foods are clean
In Mark 7,18-19, Jesus shows that unlike food that simply passes through one’s system, that which is produced in the heart affects the whole person. Here, Jesus declares all food to be clean, which is radical. According to Lev 11,43-44 and 20,24-26, Yahweh ‘separated’ the clean from the unclean food in order to distinguish the Israelites from the surrounding peoples. The Jews preserved their religious and national identity through practices associated with food laws, hand washing, and Sabbath keeping. Mark’s explanation that Jesus declared all foods clean prepares the way for the Gentile mission. For the ceremonial elements always maintained a separation among group of people. Indeed, from here, Jesus enters into Tyre, the Gentile territory, and ministers to a Syrophoenician woman who displays more understanding of his ministry than those closest to him (7,24-30).