Daily Reflection

After hearing Jesus preach, one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to his home for a meal.  The Pharisee was surprised to see that Jesus didn’t participate in the before the meal handwashing ritual.  It must have been very obvious to those dining with Jesus that he skipped such an important part of a meal.  It was clearly an intentional move by Jesus to provide a lesson.  Jesus went on to say:

Although you cleanse the outside of the cup and the dish,
inside you are filled with plunder and evil.
You fools!
Did not the maker of the outside also make the inside?
But as to what is within, give alms,
and behold, everything will be clean for you.”

These words really struck me.  Over the past months, I’ve watched others be harmed by the actions of people who seem to have a clean exterior.  These self-proclaimed Christians may be acting so that others perceive them to be upstanding, successful leaders while there is incredible damage to others as a result of the self- serving motives behind their actions.  In addition to Jesus’ lesson, simply giving alms won’t “clean everything” if one chooses to give alms in a pretentious manner.  Almsgiving should be accompanied by humility.  Almsgiving should not benefit some, while harming others.  Jesus teaches us over and over again that we are to care for each other—no matter what.

Take some time to perform an examination of conscience.  Do my actions match up with the outside of my cup, or with the inside of my cup?  Is the inside of my cup as clean as I make the outside?

Today is the Feast of St. Teresa of Avila.  She was a remarkable early leader of the Church.  She reminds us of what our priority should be:

“The surest way to determine whether one possesses the love of God is to see whether he or she loves his or her neighbor. These two loves are never separated. Rest assured, the more you progress in love of neighbor the more your love of God will increase.” ~ Teresa of Avila