Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Reflection: Luke 11:37-41

Tuesday of the 28th Week in Ordinary Time: Luke 11:37-41

This Gospel reading begins with a Pharisee inviting Jesus to his home to share a meal.  When Jesus arrived at the man’s house, he reclined at the table to eat.  Now the Pharisee was watching Jesus closely.  He was amazed that Jesus did not observe the customary washing before a meal.  Jesus was well aware of the Pharisee’s thoughts.  Then Jesus said to the man: “O you Pharisees!  You cleanse the outside of cups and dishes but inside you are filled with evil and greed!”  Imagine the Pharisees response to Jesus’ criticism!  I wonder if the Pharisee was angry with Jesus.  Or did the Pharisee realize that Jesus had seen through him?  Or was he perhaps a bit ashamed that Jesus read him so clearly? 
Now: imagine how you would react if someone accused you in this manner.  How do you think you would react to the accusation?  Most all human beings naturally want to look good to the people around them.  Thus, we typically strive to hide our weaknesses and failures from the people around us.  I doubt that any one of us enjoys looking fragile, upset or needy.  Yet our human reality is that we all have parts of us we try to hide or ignore.  However, Jesus wants us to be clean and transparent.  He tells the Pharisees (and us) that if we give what we have as alms, “Behold, everything will be clean for you.
“Alms” most likely is not a word that most of us use frequently.  Alms often is defined as money or food given to help the poor.  I assume that all of us give “alms” in various ways.  It may be money, food, housing, or perhaps we help build a Habitat House.  There are many ways to “give alms” that do not require money.  However, at times it may be easier for us to give money rather than to give of our time to an individual in need. 
Today be mindful of the people in your life who may need alms.  It may be monetary.  However, it also might be an individual who needs companionship, help with a project or a ride to the grocery store.  Also be aware of the individuals who today share their alms with you.  They are giving you (and me) a great gift!  Alms are a great gift to give and to receive.  Pray for the individuals who gift you with alms today!  And pray for the people with whom you share your alms!

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