Today is Wednesday the 12th February, in the fifth week of Ordinary time. 

St Ignatius recommends beginning every period of prayer by asking God for the grace to be completely open to him during this time.  I can make that same prayer now, as a group of Jesuits from Colombia sing a setting of these words of St Ignatius:  ‘Grant, Lord,  that all my intentions, actions and operations be directed purely to your praise and your service.’

Today’s reading is from the Gospel of Mark.

Jesus takes the Pharisees’ notion of ‘defilement’ and turns it inside out.  Instead of it being a word I might use self-righteously to mean being ‘sullied’ by unholy people and unholy things around me, it becomes a check on myself, a warning not to defile myself by allowing evil to enter the world through me.  How do I react to that warning?

People are very careful these days about what they eat – avoiding saturated fats and artifical additives and e-numbers.  But how do I take care about what comes out of me, about what I say and do?

As I listen to the reading once more, I remember that I am a temple of the Holy Spirit, that God dwells in me.  What is Jesus telling me about what goes into and what comes out of that temple?

I speak to God, who is present here now with me, about whatever thoughts and feelings have arisen in me in this time of prayer.  What do I want to say to God, now?