In today's gospel text Jesus seems to be speaking against the first reading...don't you think? In Deuteronomy we hear that nothing should be taken away or added to the law that the Lord is laying down before the people. In Mark, Jesus seems to be countering the Levitical purity laws by saying that it is not what goes into a person that defiles them but rather what comes out.
Jesus is teaching those who will listen about the difference between true religion and false religion. How does one tell the difference you ask? Simple, True Religion liberates and false religion incarcerates.
True religion speaks to those things that are edifying for a faithful people, it lifts up the broken-hearted
and the downtrodden, it celebrates community and justice, it reminds the people of their worth before their God and what God has done to sustain relationship with them.
False religion seeks to separate, it wants to keep some down by calling them unclean or outside, it keeps people imprisoned and away from the God that loves them so dearly and wants them close.
In these days when we are separated from all the beautiful traditions of our Church, it is a good and salutary thing that we are given these words to reflect upon. Let's be sure in our daily discipline, and in our corporate worship when we come together again, that we always practice the True Religion that our God has gifted us which is, in the words of the prophet Micah to seek justice, love kindness and walk humbly with our God.