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.
Jesus’ address to the Pharisee teaches us that exterior actions are crucial for interior transformation. He tells the Pharisee, “inside you are full of extortion and wickedness… But give for alms those things that are within; and, behold, everything is clean for you.” To counteract his sin of extortion, Jesus tells him to give alms. The root of the sin, greed for money, is counteracted by the very giving away of that attachment. In doing so, the Pharisee not only does justice to his neighbor but also works to remove his heart’s attachment.
As bodily creatures, interior transformation requires our whole person, both body and soul. If we are angry with someone, we can counteract it by considering the good in that person. If we are experiencing spiritual lethargy, we can add an extra Mass a week. Jesus carries out the work of transformation, but he does so in a way that calls us to put forth an effort.
I beg of you, my Lord,
to remove anything which separates
me from you, and you from me.
Remove anything that makes me unworthy
of your sight, your control, your reprehension;
of your speech and conversation,
of your benevolence and love.
Cast from me every evil
that stands in the way of my seeing you,
hearing, tasting, savoring, and touching you;
fearing and being mindful of you;
knowing, trusting, loving, and possessing you;
being conscious of your presence
and, as far as may be, enjoying you.
This is what I ask for myself
and earnestly desire from you. Amen.
—St. Peter Faber, SJPlease share the Good Word with your friends!