“Give for alms those things that are within; and see, everything will be clean for you” (Lk 11:41)

“Give for alms those things that are within; and see, everything will be clean for you” (Lk 11:41)

St Teresa of Avila

Readings: Rom 1:16-25; Ps 18[19]:2-5; Lk 11:37-41

Today’s readings refer to spiritual blindness. In the First Reading Paul stresses that God, invisible though he is, is visible in his creation. All we need to see him is a heart that is pure. We have no excuse (Rom 1:20).

The Pharisees, as usual, are concerned with rituals and the external (Gospel). They fail to notice what is essential. Christ appeals to them to become clean on the inside instead.

He is telling the Pharisees, i.e. all of us, not to judge people from the outside. We notice when some people don’t attend Mass or put small change in the collection plate. We remark snidely about others who go for novenas and retreats yet do not change their lives.

If we despise or criticise such people how are we any different?

The way to spiritual sight (and insight) is to become pure on the inside. Giving alms is an act of charity and ‘love covers a multitude of sins’ (1 Pet 4:8). When Jesus says “give for alms those things that are within” (Focus), he wants us to rid ourselves of the hate and venom that we harbor inside. And reach out in love to others, instead of judging them on the externals.

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