Aug 25 2020 Reflection
Tuesday 25 August 2020
First Reading: 2 THES 2:1-3A, 14-17
The Lord comes to judge the earth.
PS 96:10, 11-12, 13
Gospel Reading: MT 23:23-26
Today’s Note: Tuesday of the Twenty-first Week in Ordinary Time
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites.
You pay tithes of mint and dill and cummin,
and have neglected the weightier things of the law:
judgment and mercy and fidelity.
But these you should have done, without neglecting the others.
Blind guides, who strain out the gnat and swallow the camel!“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites.
You cleanse the outside of cup and dish,
but inside they are full of plunder and self-indulgence.
Blind Pharisee, cleanse first the inside of the cup,
so that the outside also may be clean.”
Cleanse first the inside of the cup, so that the outside also may be clean. (Matthew 23:26)
Have you ever overheard someone being rebuked for some offense and realized you were guilty of the same thing? Jesus’ rebuke was addressed to the scribes and the Pharisees who were opposing him, but it was also meant for everyone who heard him. For the crowds. For his disciples. And for us. We all need deep cleaning, not just a quick swipe around the edges of our lives.
That’s especially true today in the era of electronic communication and the virtual reality of social media. It’s tempting to present a picture-perfect image of ourselves to the world and never address the deeper, hidden problems that need our attention. Jesus’ words are an ardent plea to tackle those deeper issues and rid our lives of anything that is causing “stains.”
But how do we go about doing that? To know how to clean something well, you have to know what kind of “dirt” you’re trying to remove. So ask the Spirit to point out just one area of temptation or sin. Maybe it’s something that Jesus mentions here: jealousy or covetousness, hypocrisy or self-satisfaction. Don’t worry that Jesus will condemn you. His greatest desire is that you would be freed from anything that separates you from him or holds you back from fulfilling his call to you.
Once you know what you have to clean up, take action. Maybe that means asking someone’s forgiveness or forgiving without judging. Maybe the Spirit will move you to go to Confession, where you can receive absolution and the wise counsel of a priest.
Cleaning can be messy, but don’t let that deter you. It’s worth the effort. If you begin to cleanse greed, jealousy, or pride from your heart, you’ll feel less driven to compare yourself to other people. If you can forgive a past hurt, you’ll feel less bound by anger, bitterness, or fear. Peace and joy will follow.
And remember, you don’t have to do this work alone. The Lord wants you to be cleansed more than you want it yourself, and he will give you the grace and courage to do it.
“Holy Spirit, shine your light into my ‘cup’ today, and show me where and how to start cleaning.”