TUESDAY, TWENTY EIGHTH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME
Rom 1: 16-25; Ps 19: 2-5; Lk 11: 37-41
FAITH CLEANSES US FROM WITHIN
Seeing Jesus not performing the elaborate washing ritual of the ‘righteous’ Jews before sitting down to eat must have been astonishing to the Pharisee who invited him for a meal. But what was astonishing to Jesus was how easily they separated the outside realities from the inside, the external from the internal. Both the realities are created by God. And therefore, we need to pay attention to both. Only concentrating on taking care of one while neglecting the other doesn’t help for harmonious and healthy growth. The Pharisee was particular about external cleanliness, but he failed to realize the grace he had received in Jesus’ acceptance of his invitation. He only noticed what Jesus ‘didn’t do right.’ The Lord, however, makes use of the situation to teach a gospel truth. Cleanliness outside is shallow and empty without cleanliness within.
Similarly, when we judge others based on their external reality without an effort to truly understand what’s going on within, we betray our emptiness, our shallowness. Yet, there is always hope for improvement, for change. Jesus called the Pharisees hypocrites, but never called them the embodiment of evil, because he knew well that there was always a chance for transformation.
And St Paul says in the first reading to the Romans, that it is the Gospel that gives the power to bring about this change because it is a truth that can never be hidden. No evil power nor evil inclinations can overcome the truth of the Gospel. The power that the gospel is a strong faith in Jesus Christ, for, as St Paul confirms in this same letter, “faith comes from hearing, that is, hearing the Good News about Christ.” (Rom 10:17) Faith makes us like Jesus compassionate and merciful instead of judgmental and arrogant. Faith is the water that cleanses us within; and this cleansing is manifested in our external life as well, thus making it more meaningful for ourselves and others.
Response: The heavens declare the glory of God.
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