In Mark 7:8,14-15, 21-23 Jesus teaches that the people of God are not set apart by particular traditions or ethnicity, but by a purity that emanates from the heart, manifested by love for others. We do not need more religion, but more reflection on what proceeds from our heart. Yes, traditions can be good, and can point others to God. However, they can also send a message explicitly or implicitly, "you don't belong."
Jesus challenged the purity “laws” and turned them upside down. In their place he substituted a radically alternate social vision. The new community that Jesus announced would be characterized by interior compassion for everyone, not external compliance to a purity code, or by egalitarian inclusivity, but rather by inward transformation.
"No outcasts," writes Garry Wills in What Jesus Meant, "were cast out far enough in Jesus' world to make him shun them — not Roman collaborators, not lepers, not prostitutes, not the crazed, not the possessed. Are there people now who could possibly be outside his encompassing love?"
What "outcasts" do we sanctimoniously spurn as impure, unclean, dirty, and contaminated?
(The Journey with Jesus: Weekly essays by Dan Clendenin )