28th Week in Ord. Time, Wednesday – 13th October 2021 — Gospel: Lk 11,42-46
On Face to Face
Jesus was upset with the Pharisees, the most educated and influential members of the Jewish people, because they were resistant to his message of salvation. However, Jesus didn’t step back of his dissatisfaction. He didn’t criticize the Pharisees behind their backs pointing out their misbehavior. He spoke the truth to them directly, lovingly, and consistently. He would have preferred to be able to reason with them calmly. But it didn’t work that way. And so, expresses four woes that contrast between the inner and outer, between the important and insignificant. In the first, Jesus criticizes piety that observes external obedience while neglecting justice and the love of God. In the second, Jesus emphasizes that true piety does not seek praise from others. In the third, Jesus contrasts the inner corruption of the Pharisees, though not visible, yet others are defiled outwardly by their influence. In the fourth, Jesus condemns the lawyers for burdening the people but doing nothing to help them. In this way, Jesus simply pointed the Pharisees and legalists of their excellence in what could be seen by others, while they were careless about what only God could see.
28th Week in Ord. Time, Tuesday – 12th October 2021 — Gospel: Lk 11,37-41
Alms Giving as State of Grace
Many of the Pharisees’ rituals were directed towards purifications, toward putting themselves in a state in which they would be in harmony with God’s own desires and so be open to receiving God’s saving grace. More than Pharisees’ external cleansing, Jesus points out that giving alms is a path to interior purification. Jesus told His host first to give alms. The way to make the outside pure is to make the inside pure (11,41). The Pharisees always boated of their giving (Mt 6,1-4; Lk 18,11-12), but they did not give what was within to the Lord. Giving alms is a term used to refer to any sincere act of love towards our neighbours who are in need. These acts turn our hearts toward God; they put our hearts in harmony with God’s own heart, which is a heart burning with infinite love. On the other hand, when we willingly turn away from our neighbor in need, we turn our hearts away from God’s heart, closing ourselves off from receiving his light and grace. Jesus is continually calling his followers to repentance, a way to turning away from the lusts and greed and sloth of our fallen human nature in order to welcome his mercy and transforming grace. If one could pass this basic test of love for others, then indeed all things would be clean to him.