Matthew 15:16-20

So Jesus said, “Are you also still without understanding? Do you not yet understand that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and is eliminated? But those things which proceed out of the mouth come form the heart, and they defile a man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornication, thefts, false witness, blasphemies. These are the things which defile a man, but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile a man.”

The Orthodox Church is now in the period called the Nativity Fast. Some call it Christmas Lent and it is designed as a period of preparation for Christmas. It is not as strict as the Lenten fast period but we are to abstain from meat, fish, and dairy products as well as wine and oil. Fish, wine, and oil can be used on Sunday but the rest of time it is not to be used.

I am willing to say that I get more questions regarding the fast then anything else. People are so hung up on the fact that they can’t eat this and they can’t eat that. People say it is unhealthy to fast and I say that is rubbish. People have been fasting for years and it is rather healthy if it is done correctly. However there is more to it than that.

Let us just look at the above passage of Scripture. It is not what goes in but what comes out. If you strict fast all time but are a rotten person and never have a nice thing to say to anyone then I have to ask why do you fast? What is the reason the Church asks us to do this. It is after all a spiritual discipline that we should follow as best we can. If you cannot strict fast, don’t if you can great! But this time of year should be different then other times of the year.

Maybe skip a meal each day or give some money to the poor or do something for someone. Buy some food for the food pantry or a gift for the Toys for Tots program. Or just be nicer to people. If you are the same rotten person at the end of the fast then you were at the beginning then it did not work.

It’s not what goes in your mouth that is important it is what comes out. Eat meat, and be nice, fast and be nice, the bottom line is Christians show love to one another and to others.

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