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OCTOBER 12. Ord Time B. Wk 28. Tue. Lk 11. 37-41

Jesus had just finished speaking when a Pharisee invited him to dine at his house. He went in and sat down at the table. The Pharisee saw this and was surprised that he had not first washed before the meal. But the Lord said to him, ‘Oh, you Pharisees! You clean the outside of cup and plate, while inside yourselves you are filled with extortion and wickedness. Fools! Did not he who made the outside make the inside too? Instead, give alms from what you have and then indeed everything will be clean for you.’

The Pharisee in today’s reading was very concerned about earthly and social requirements being met, but Jesus reveals to us how this man had no concern at all for the state of his soul. To put this another way; - the focus of his life was on compliance with the rules of man; - but he had no concern at all for the rules of God.

While we can be quick to criticise this approach, we need to pause and reflect on whether we too are guilty of this same behaviour. Does the Will of God really have first priority in our lives, or is our primary concern how we are seen by those around us? Is our primary focus really on the state of our soul in God’s eyes; - or is our concern how we are seen by our neighbour?

We have a very rare situation in today’s gospel, in that what is being revealed to us is the state of the Pharisees souls in the eyes of God; - together with their concern for how they are seen in the eyes of men. They place the emphasis on rules such as the washing of hands, while inside” they are filled with “extortion and wickedness!”

One of the most remarkable features of the Gospels is that oftentimes the lesson Jesus is giving is so clear and unambiguous it requires almost no comment, and this is a good example of this, where the lesson is so clear.

It warns against focusing on how those around us see us, while having little regard for how Almighty God sees us; - a simple teaching that leaves little room for expansion or commentary, and it is enlightening to note how Christ sees people who act in this way; - he describes them in one word; - “Fools!”

Given this description; - by the Son of God; - of people who practice this common failing it is a teaching Christians need to pay particular attention to! The inclination to give more value to the views of those around us; - rather than to the views of God; - is very strong!

In this passage (one of the most severe in the Gospel) Jesus determinedly unmasks the vice which was largely responsible for official Judaism’s rejection of his teaching; - hypocrisy cloaked in legalism. There are many people who, under the guise of doing good, keeping the mere letter of the law, fail to keep its spirit; - they close themselves to the love of God and neighbour; - they harden their hearts and, though apparently very upright, turn others away from fervent pursuit of God; - making virtue distasteful.

Jesus’ criticism is vehement because they are worse than open enemies; - against open enemies one can defend oneself, but these are enemies it is almost impossible to deal with. The scribes and Pharisees were blocking the way of those who wanted to follow Jesus; - they were the most formidable obstacle to the Gospel. Our Lord’s invective against the scribes and Pharisees is reported even more fully in Matthew Ch. 23.” (Navarre commentary)

Gospel Acclamation Heb4:12

Alleluia, alleluia!

The word of God is living and active:

it probes the thoughts and motives of our heart.


First reading Romans 1:16-25 These people knew God and failed to honour him

I am not ashamed of the Good News: it is the power of God saving all who have faith – Jews first, but Greeks as well – since this is what reveals the justice of God to us: it shows how faith leads to faith, or as scripture says: The upright man finds life through faith.

The anger of God is being revealed from heaven against all the impiety and depravity of men who keep truth imprisoned in their wickedness. For what can be known about God is perfectly plain to them since God himself has made it plain. Ever since God created the world his everlasting power and deity – however invisible – have been there for the mind to see in the things he has made. That is why such people are without excuse: they knew God and yet refused to honour him as God or to thank him; instead, they made nonsense out of logic and their empty minds were darkened. The more they called themselves philosophers, the more stupid they grew, until they exchanged the glory of the immortal God for a worthless imitation, for the image of mortal man, of birds, of quadrupeds and reptiles. That is why God left them to their filthy enjoyments and the practices with which they dishonour their own bodies, since they have given up divine truth for a lie and have worshipped and served creatures instead of the creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen!

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