Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Gospel Reflection

October 16, 2012
Tuesday – Weekday – Year of Faith
by Rev. Fr. Maxim Sevilla (Sanctuario de San Jose, Greenhills, Mandaluyong)
Mass at Megamall, Chapel of the Eucharistic Lord

Reading 1 Gal 5:1-6

Brothers and sisters: For freedom Christ set us free; so stand firm and do not submit again to the yoke of slavery. It is I, Paul, who am telling you that if you have yourselves circumcised, Christ will be of no benefit to you. Once again I declare to every man who has himself circumcised that he is bound to observe the entire law. You are separated from Christ, you who are trying to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace. For through the Spirit, by faith, we await the hope of righteousness. For in Christ Jesus, neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 119:41, 43, 44, 45, 47, 48

R. (41a) Let your mercy come to me, O Lord.
Let your mercy come to me, O LORD,
your salvation according to your promise.
R. Let your mercy come to me, O Lord.
Take not the word of truth from my mouth,
for in your ordinances is my hope.
R. Let your mercy come to me, O Lord.
And I will keep your law continually,
forever and ever.
R. Let your mercy come to me, O Lord.
And I will walk at liberty,
because I seek your precepts.
R. Let your mercy come to me, O Lord.
And I will delight in your commands,
which I love.
R. Let your mercy come to me, O Lord.
And I will lift up my hands to your commands
and meditate on your statutes.
R. Let your mercy come to me, O Lord.

Gospel Lk 11:37-41

After Jesus had spoken, a Pharisee invited him to dine at his home. He entered and reclined at table to eat. The Pharisee was amazed to see that he did not observe the prescribed washing before the meal. The Lord said to him, "Oh you Pharisees! Although you cleanse the outside of the cup and the dish, inside you are filled with plunder and evil. You fools! Did not the maker of the outside also make the inside? But as to what is within, give alms, and behold, everything will be clean for you."


In the Gospel, we can see that when Jesus was invited by one of the Pharisees to eat, Jesus did not wash His hands. Perhaps it was intentional, and he was waiting for the reaction of the Pharisee. And true enough, the Pharisee was scandalized when Jesus did not wash His hands before eating. Let us remember that the washing of hands was not just a matter of cleanliness during Jesus' time. It was a ceremonial law that was prescribed by the Pharisees, and there were rules on how to properly wash the hands. It is said that before dining, the people wash their hands and in a vessel, usually it is done by pouring the water first from the fingertips down to the palm and then rubbing the face of the palm, and then finally pouring again the water from the palm down to the fingertips. And in a way, if you do not follow that, you are considered to be committing sin. That is how exaggerated the Pharisees were, in following the rules.

But yes Jesus intentionally would like to teach the Pharisees a lesson. And what is that? That the Pharisees are so much concerned with the externals, and yet they do not emphasize or focus more on the state of the soul. It is hypocrisy, which is incongruence between what is outside and what is inside. It is inconsistency.

My dear sisters and brothers, to a certain extent, we all pass for hypocrites. Because most of the time, we want to keep up appearances. We have some childish hypocrisies, like for example, when we dye our hair to try to hide our actual age. But these hypocrisies can be serious ones. This happens when we try to hide our skeletons by putting up a front, by showing to others that we are good and religious enough, when in fact, deep inside us, or in our private moments and activities, we are full of corruption. Hypocrisy can also take the form of being so judgmental toward others. Why? Because we know that it is our own dilemma. We look with disdain on the errors or mistakes of other people, when we know that that the problem is actually within us. This is what happens when we try to compensate what is lacking inside us through the externals.

My dear sisters and brothers, today Jesus challenges us to give a thought about ourselves and find the truth about who we are. We cannot anymore hide our true selves with all those pretenses. We should pray for the grace of humility to accept who we are, and not to project our frustrations to others. Let us pray that we may have the humility and the courage to accept that we are not perfect after all, but yes, we are trying to be good, not in the public arena, but in our private lives, in our private homes, so that we can stand before God, and we can say "yes, this is who I am". God is pleased on those who are consistent and truthful in their lives.