Gospel: Mark 7:1-23
Old Testament: Genesis 47:27-48:7
New Testament: 1 Corinthians 10:1-13
Psalms: 87, 90, 136
When I began coursework for my social work degree, my clinical internship was at a psychiatric rehabilitation facility with a “milieu” setting. This meant that great care was taken to erase differences between staff and clients, under a treatment model that promoted recovery. Everyone dressed casually and ate together in the cafeteria, chatting about weekend plans over sandwiches or salads.
Of course, in class I was learning that social workers should keep strict boundaries and reveal little to nothing about themselves. So during those lunchtime chats, when clients asked questions about my personal life, I wasn't sure how to answer. I was supposed to be treating all my clients as equals and modeling appropriate lunchtime conversations, but how could I also keep the necessary boundaries? My supervisor gave great advice. She said, "Always think about why you are saying what you are saying. Is it for your benefit, or for the client's?"
In today’s lesson from Mark, Jesus talks about the importance of what is in a man's heart. As you go about your life today, I challenge you to check in with yourself several times – maybe set a phone or watch to go off to help you to remember – and really examine what is in your heart at that moment. Why are you doing what you are doing? Are you following the rules, but letting your heart stray? If you find that you are struggling with what's in your heart, take the next step. Read the Bible. Pray. Go for a walk. Phone your Godparent or a friend from church.
Jesus is offering each one of us an extraordinary opportunity to prepare for the great gift of Easter. Be honest with yourself and God, and then use this day of Lent, and each day, with all your heart.