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The good news for the day October 11

Tuesday of the Twenty-eighth Week in Ordinary Time (468)

When Jesus finished his talk, a religious leader asked Jesus to a meal at his home. Jesus entered and took his place for the meal. The religious leader was put off to see that Jesus did not do the prescribed washing before the meal. The Man-in-charge said to him, “Oh you Pharisees! Although you wash the surfaces of cup and bowl, inside you are filled with greed and malice. You stupid people! Did not the One who has made the outside also make the inside? But as to what is within—give loving kindness, and watch what happens—everything becomes clean for you.” (Luke 17)

Jesus fights external practices—externals that deny, neglect or fake what is truly important—mercy. Externals are important—it is when substitute for the life within, the spirit of Jesus, the attitude and viewpoint He offers. 

We practice hygiene—wash hands though not as part of religion, brush teeth, observe balanced diets and so on. Science has enabled us to know in a general way how to stay healthy—though we will all die eventually.

But the important thing here is not “life”—but LIVING.  Live, Jesus tells us, not so observant of ostentatious behavior, or external habits and practices, or even insistence on health practices. They are important enough—but what is more important is our part in the life of the Family of God, our interdependence, our giving of self, our open-hearted and open-handed gifting to one another. That is LIVING. Aware of our mutual neediness, kind to the wants, needs and even desperation of others, and awake to the souls of one another—we can skip the hand-washing for the sake of generosity and respect, for the sake of “alms” (the specific word for “loving kindness” here), and for the sake of helping one another.

One thought on “Externals versus internals

  1. Thank you for this post. After listening to the debate last night it was very uplifting to read your words about openhearted giving of ourselves to others and it helped to read these thoughts and words to deal with the concern about what could happen to our people and our country. I will focus on what I can do and keep the rest in prayer.

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