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Tuesday – Twenty-eighth week – OT1
Readings: Rom 1:16-25; Lk 11:37-41.
Reading 1 (Rom 1:16-25): Brothers and sisters:I am not ashamed of the Gospel.
It is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: for Jew first, and then Greek.
For in it is revealed the righteousness of God from faith to faith;
as it is written, “The one who is righteous by faith will live.”
The wrath of God is indeed being revealed from heaven
against every impiety and wickedness
of those who suppress the truth by their wickedness.
For what can be known about God is evident to them,
because God made it evident to them.
Ever since the creation of the world,
his invisible attributes of eternal power and divinity
have been able to be understood and perceived in what he has made.
As a result, they have no excuse;
for although they knew God
they did not accord him glory as God or give him thanks.
Instead, they became vain in their reasoning,
and their senseless minds were darkened.
While claiming to be wise, they became fools
and exchanged the glory of the immortal God
for the likeness of an image of mortal man
or of birds or of four-legged animals or of snakes.
Therefore, God handed them over to impurity
through the lusts of their hearts
for the mutual degradation of their bodies.
They exchanged the truth of God for a lie
and revered and worshiped the creature rather than the creator,
who is blessed forever. Amen.
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 seethat 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.”
I. THEME: The relationship between what is inside and what is outside of a man.
What is outside of a man is a sign of what is in him, for “a mouth speaks what a heart is full of.” What is outside does not stand in itself but must be supported by what is inside; for example, helping the poor is a sign to indicate what is inside of a man; but if there is no love, it is a way to attract praise from others and will not last long.
Today readings want to show the relationship between an outside act with an inside feeling. In the first reading, St. Paul declared that by looking at God’s creation in the world, people can recognize God’s power and love so that they will believe in and worship Him. If not, they must receive bad results because they don’t follow their reasoning. In the Gospel, Jesus scolded at the Pharisees who paid too much attention to what is outside, the washing of hands. He invited us to pay more attention to the purity of heart, such as truth, compassion and justice; for God will judge people according to these elements.
1/ Reading I: There are two ways of God’s revelation.
1.1/ Scripture reveals God’s mysteries: Men cannot understand God’s will by themselves because He exceeds human knowledge. God chose to reveal Himself to men through Scripture, especially through the Incarnation of Jesus, His only Begotten Son. Jesus Christ himself revealed to men God’s mysteries through the Gospel he preached, and the evangelists wrote this Gospel.
St. Paul declared: “I am not ashamed of the Gospel.It is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes:for Jew first, and then Greek.For in it is revealed the righteousness of God from faith to faith;as it is written, “The one who is righteous by faith will live.”” To believe in Christ itself is a mystery because a believer’s faith is not completely from human effort; it also depends on God’s help such as: opportunities to hear the Good News, preachers, and the Holy Spirit who leads men to Christ’s truth.
1.2/ Nature reveals God’s existence and glory.
(1) Human mind can recognize God’s existence: According to St. Paul, with a limited knowledge men can recognize God’s existence in nature, His creation. Paul said: “For what can be known about God is evident to them,because God made it evident to them.Ever since the creation of the world,his invisible attributes of eternal power and divinityhave been able to be understood and perceived in what he has made. As a result, they have no excuse.”
When a man cannot recognize God’s through nature, his mind is lesser than an animal’s estimation. The prophet Isaiah painfully wrote on this truth: “The ox knows its owner, and the ass its master’s crib; but Israel does not know, my people does not understand” (Isa 1:3). According to human experience, a dog waives his tail when his owner gives him something to eat; a cat shows his feeling when he is caressed by his owner; why does a man not recognize and thank God through all what He has done for them. To this kind of people, Paul had these words: “although they knew Godthey did not accord him glory as God or give him thanks.Instead, they became vain in their reasoning,and their senseless minds were darkened.While claiming to be wise, they became fools.”
(2) When men don’t worship God, they must receive terrible results: “Therefore, God handed them over to impuritythrough the lusts of their heartsfor the mutual degradation of their bodies.They exchanged the truth of God for a lieand revered and worshiped the creature rather than the creator.” Human experience also teaches us that without observing natural law, we must get a corresponding result. For example, in agriculture, if a landowner doesn’t sow at a certain time according to natural weather, he will have no harvest; or in architecture, if a builder doesn’t build according to its blueprints, a house can be felt down; or in traffic laws, if a driver doesn’t follow traffic laws, he can loose his life.
We can forsee such a result for those who don’t want to follow God’s teachings, they will have to endure bad results both in this life and the life to come. This life, they will be led to all craziness: “they exchanged the glory of the immortal Godfor the likeness of an image of mortal manor of birds or of four-legged animals or of snakes... Therefore, God handed them over to impuritythrough the lusts of their heartsfor the mutual degradation of their bodies.” Next life, they will not be able to live with God.
2/ Gospel: Pay more attention to the purity of mind.
2.1/ The Pharisees pay attention to outside behaviors: To wash hands before eating is in the Jewish law. Jesus did not oppose the washing of hands before eating; but he wanted to stress more to the inside purity than outside ceremonies. The Pharisees might think no one can see through what is happening inside them; but only what is outside, and evaluate them accordingly.
Therefore, they pay attention to praying in publich places to heap praises from people; they fast with a sad face to let people know they are repenting; they make noise when they give alms to let people know they care for the poor.
Jesus opposed these attitudes and taught his disciples to act in opposition: when praying, go to your room and close the doors; when fasting, put perfume on your head; when giving alms, don’t let your right knows what your left does. He opposed the evaluation based only on what is outside because it can be hypocrite and deceive others. It can also be dangerous to the one who performs because when he is so familiar with these hypocrite acts, he can no longer recognize what is true; he wears a mask and thinks it is his true face.
2.2/ Jesus invited people to pay attention to human mind: A sincere heart is valuable before God for He can see through what people cannot see. St. Luke reminded those who wanted to deceive Him by their outside acts: “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.” If one has the impurity of heart, he will express by his words and deeds. This is the one who sincerely loves God and others.
III. APPLICATION IN LIFE:
– God reveals Himself to us by many ways. To recognize Him, we need to have a humble heart, a jealous mind to learn and to value the truth.
– When men deny God, they will be led to all worldly perversion. The results are an immoral life, a slavery to devils, and the loss of their ultimate goal of life.
– We should live truthfully with God and others. A hypocrite and deceitful life will be discovered sooner or later; and it does not bring good results for us.