Leviticus 11:1‐12:8; Mark 5:21‐43; Psalm 38:1‐22; Proverbs 10:8‐9
Clean and Unclean Food
The reader of the passage from Leviticus may well exclaim, “Laws, laws, and more laws – and rules to follow. I am so confused. Now I even need to count the number of legs on a bug and see if it flies or walks. I may as well give up!”
To the people of the time of Moses and Aaron, these dietary regulations may have seemed as incomprehensible as the voluminous directions that are published by the IRS, as bewildering as the fine print that accompanies a credit card application, or at least as complex as the seemingly endless warnings that are delivered in hushed tones at the conclusion of every televised commercial for the latest prescription drug.
When we reflect on all of these structures that are imposed on our lives, we are somehow forced to admit that they are for our own good and to save us from our impetuousness. As we read in the passage from Proverbs, “The wise in heart accept commands.” The alternative is not appealing.
The readings from Leviticus and the Book of Proverbs could easily tie us in knots or give rise to obsessive compulsive disorder. Perhaps this is what moved David to pour out his woes in Psalm 38. We can be thankful for the wisdom and comfort that is offered in Mark’s Gospel. Jesus has risked contact with the unclean and with the dead. Yet He says, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.” I take from this an admonition to remove the mental clutter from life and to put faith in Jesus’ teaching first.
Randall B. Krum
St. Peter’s Episcopal Church
Lake Mary, FL