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Greetings to all who love to wander along the paths of the Holy Scriptures! The purpose of this blog is to share some of the insights of ordinary Catholics who have begun to delve into the mysteries of the Sacred Scriptures. Hopefully you will find these reflections inspiring and insightful. We are faithful to the Church, but we are not theologians; we intend and trust that our individual reflections will remain within the inspired traditions of the Church. (If you note otherwise please let me know!) Discussion and comments are welcome, but always in charity and respect! Come and join us as we ponder the Sacred Scriptures, which will lead us on the path into His heart, which "God alone has traced" Job 28:23.

Monday, October 14, 2013


(a reflection on Luke 11:37-41)
by: Deacon Paul Rooney

Luke 11:37-41 (esp. 40a) : "You fools!"

Jesus has some harsh words in today's gospel for those who do not tend to their spiritual journey.  One road on this spiritual journey speaks to me of love, and our invited response to the ethical demand of the gospel.  The other road speaks to me of hypocrisy.  Both roads reveal themselves eventually.

I can remember vividly the time when I was a paperboy for the Fremont Tribune many decades ago. J  Every late afternoon during the weekdays I would make my rounds delivering the Tribune.  Then on the first Saturday
morning of the month, I would make the rounds collecting the monthly subscription price of 15¢ [how times change…the price today is $12.25 to have it delivered to your door by a paperboy].  During the daily deliveries all month long, all I would see would be the outside of the homes: all very nicely painted, yards well-trimmed, and so on.  But once a month when I collected, they would invite me inside, and I would see the absolute mess or chaos that the homes really looked like inside, away from the eyes of the world.  I suspect many of us can visualize that scene.  How many times have we received a surprise phone call from someone saying they would be arriving soon to visit - - so we hit the panic button and clean up the inside of the house (or at least that part that the Visitor will see)!

This is sort of what Jesus is getting at in today’s Gospel (Luke 11:37-41).  Jesus seems to get a little tough with his host, calling him and all the Pharisees Fools!!  That’s probably not something you would expect an invited person to call you, right in your own home.  But that really was in keeping
with the rabbinic tradition, which could also be harsh with some Pharisees.  In that culture, it meant that the Pharisees were being seen by Jesus as being arrogant, which in turn means the Pharisees were acting out of self-important pride in their own ability to follow the ritual rulebook.  And their man-made rulebook said that everyone had to wash their hands and forearms before eating.

Jesus tells the Pharisees - - and us - - “Hey, keeping the external rituals is meaningless if the inside or interior of your heart is a shambles.  You are being hypocrites, because your actions don’t reflect the real truth of your Heart.”  That is always the challenge that Jesus places before us: to put our faith into action.  And good action comes only from a heart of love.

This is why almsgiving is such a Great work of mercy!  It is private, and no one knows what you are giving but you and God!  Works of mercy that come from within are what purify us in the eyes of God. Or as Jesus might say, “Give what is inside the dish to the poor, and then the dish will be clean.”

There is a lot for us to chew on in these five short gospel verses.  The key is to focus on interior cleansing, not exterior cleansing.  To do the latter while ignoring the former reveals the hypocritical heart.  This gospel is not meant just for the Pharisees.  It is meant for all believers of all times; it is meant for you and me today.  We are indeed a sacramental people, but we must make sure that our pious practices do not become a matter of show, or a matter of score-keeping.  The ethical demand of the gospel calls me to take time in my daily examen to discern whether my "religious" actions reflect the true condition of my heart.   I would urge all Christians to do the same.  (+)

Deacon Paul Rooney
Photo credits:
Almsgiving: http://www.wordonfire.org/WoF-Blog/WoF-Blog/March-2012/Lent-Almsgiving-and-How-to-Avoid-Being-a-Goat.aspx


1 comment:

  1. Thank you for this post Deacon Paul. Powerful reminder to for examens. God Bless...


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