Jesus 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.”
The ancient Pharisaic issue with clean/unclean translates into today’s issue with appearance/substance or image/reality.
Appearances and images are a lot easier to control and contain than substance and reality. To succeed any organization of any size – government, business, non-profit or religious -- must pay much attention to its image. An ugly rumor can bring down the best company in a matter of hours. Individuals – especially those with a career -- must also maintain appearances; so much depends upon one’s reputation.
The “me too” movement has intensified the matter of appearances as what was hidden comes to light; and what was whispered is shouted in the street. A few months ago the reputation of an entertainer, director or producer relied solely on his box office proceeds. What they did in private, by general consent, was not public.
The Truth, which is another name for the Gospel, does not know the distinction between private and public.
Roman Catholic sacramental theology invites us to look past imagery and discover substance. A wafer of bread is the Body of Christ; a drop of wine is the Blood of Christ. The sign is the substance. The man Jesus of Nazareth is the Messiah, the Son of God. He is whom we believe him to be.
The Christian cannot say of her belief, “This is my opinion; you may have a different opinion.” While we respect the different religious beliefs of other people, that respect defers to their sovereign integrity as persons, not their opinions. Not all opinions are alike; not all have the same weight. Our faith has been revealed to us; it is the Word of God. That is not a matter of opinion.
God's faithful people are not preoccupied with appearances; we’re not eager to keep the private from the public. Rather, we strive to be what we pretend to be. We must speak the truth in season and out of season, convenient or inconvenient, politically correct or not.
Of course, there’s a price to pay for honesty. That’s why witnesses are called martyrs.