The Gospel according to Luke (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.
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.”
Have you ever found yourself seeing someone, and just by their appearance – the way they dress, whether or not they have tattoos or piercings – you judge them to be this kind of person or that kind of person? I think all of us have done that at one time or another. It is a very natural human quality. But, we who are followers of Jesus are not to act that way.
When I was growing up, my parents had encounters with all sorts of people. In looking back, it would have been easy for my dad to have discounted them because of where they lived, or whether or not their house was clean. But, he saw them as friends, and if they asked him for anything, he would do his best to help. Now, I’m not saying my dad was accepting of everyone, because he wasn’t, but I will say that he was less likely than most to judge on appearances.
Today’s Gospel shows Jesus visiting a Pharisee, one of the scholars of the Jewish Law. Jewish custom was all about hospitality, but it’s clear that this Pharisee is looking for something to trip Jesus up, and he finds it, when Jesus does not do the ceremonial washing of His hands before sitting down to the meal. The Pharisee was looking totally on the appearance, and totally missing the fact that the Lord Himself was there dining with him.
How often do we miss seeing the Lord in our days? May this reading today help us to seek to be more attentive to the Lord’s presence in our days, and not miss Him, even in one of His “distressing disguises”, as St Teresa of Calcutta said of the poor she served. May we be open to serving Jesus in whomever we meet!
Action for the Day:
Today, keep an internal eye on yourself as you go through your day. If you see yourself judging another for that person’s appearance or some other quality, ask the Lord to help you see beyond that, and see that other person as a child of God, because that is who that person is!
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