Many are familiar with the saying, “You are what you eat.” To an extent, that is true. We learn from the Gospel that Jesus says something different. He says, ”Nothing that enters from outside can defile a person; but the things that come out from within defile (Mark 7:21).” To Jesus, what is inside of us is the most important.
Every so often we do well to ask, “What is inside of us anyway?” The answer is that within us there is both good and bad. Everyday we can decide which of those we are going to let come out. We can treat people with respect or we can insult them. We can be helpful or harmful. We can wound or we can heal. We can forgive or get revenge. We can be honest or deceitful. We can be concerned or indifferent. We can be polite or rude. We can be generous or greedy. We can be selfish or self giving. There are many options when it comes to how we treat other people. In life, there are many things that we cannot control. One thing that we can always control is how we treat other people. The way we treat others comes from within.
Jesus invites us to look within ourselves and to name what is there. What is the bad stuff that needs to be gotten rid of? Perhaps it is jealousy, bitterness, prejudice, vengeance, greed. How did those things get there? Who helped them to get there? What might we need to let go of or who might we need to forgive? What is the good inside that we need to let shine forth? Maybe it is gratitude, generosity, understanding, compassion, tolerance, patience, mercy. Again, how did those things get there? Who helped them to get there and how might we express our gratitude?
As people of faith, we are to act from what is within. St. James says, “Be doers of the Word (James 1:22).” We are reminded it is from the Word of God within us that action needs to flow. Yes, in some ways, we are what we eat. Acting from the Word within us, as disciples of Jesus, we are what we do.