While he was speaking, a Pharisee invited him to dine with him; so he went in and took his place at the table. The Pharisee was amazed to see that he did not first wash before dinner. Then the Lord said to him, “Now you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness. You fools! Did not the one who made the outside make the inside also? So give for alms those things that are within; and see, everything will be clean for you.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
In today’s Gospel we encounter Jesus in the home of a Pharisee, one of the scrupulous observers of the law who constantly try to discredit Jesus and his ministry. Jesus confronts the Pharisee, calling him out for an empty faith, full of appearances. Jesus scolds him for using religious practices, like the washing of one’s hands before a meal, to mask the “plunder and evil” that corrupt them from within. So focused on themselves and “looking good”, the Pharisees forgot about the commandment to love God and neighbor.
How is God challenging me to not be constricted by a religion of appearances and instead embrace an authentic, radical faith in the God of Life?
This encounter is an invitation to downward mobility. To embrace our faith humbly, not ostentatiously, building people up and never reprimanding them for their perceived lack of faith or of certain religious practices.
—Matt Ippel, SJ, is a Jesuit scholastic in the Midwest Province studying philosophy at the Universidad Antonio Ruiz de Montoya in Lima, Peru.
Let me have too deep a sense of humor to be proud.
Let me know my absurdity before I act absurdly.
Let me realize that when I am humble I am most human,
and most worthy of your serious consideration.
—Daniel A. Lord, SJ
Please share the Good Word with your friends!