GOD’S WORD FOR THE DAY -11TH OCTOBER 2016
GOD’S WORD FOR THE DAY (based on Catholic Liturgical Readings)
DATE: 11TH OCTOBER 2016
TUESDAY OF THE 28TH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME
1ST READING: Galatians 5:1-6
PSALM: Psalm 119:41,43-45, 47-48
GOSPEL: Luke 11:37-41
THEME: SPIRITUAL BANKRUPTCY
Anthony De Mello, s.j., in one of his thought-provoking parables, tells of a cat whose presence in a community was a source of distraction during times of worship. The guru (spiritual leader) of the community therefore ordered that the cat be tied during evening worship. After the guru died the cat continued to be tied during evening worship. Later, when the cat died, another cat was brought to the place of worship so that it could be duly tied during evening worship. Many years later, scholars from that community wrote treaties on the liturgical significance of tying up a cat while worship is performed.
In our Gospel text for the day, a Pharisee is amazed to see Jesus reclining at table without performing the Jewish ritual of ablution. Obviously, for the Pharisee, it was not a matter of hygiene, it was one of tradition – it had to be done! Jesus, observing the excessive value that he was placing on that ritual, said to him, “You Pharisees! You clean the outside of cup and plate, while inside yourselves you are filled with extortion and wickedness” (Lk. 11:39).
Paul, in our First Reading, also addressed an issue that bordered on another ritual, i.e. circumcision. There was a raging debate as to whether gentile Christians had to perform the Jewish ritual of circumcision or not. Paul writes, “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything; the only thing that counts is faith working through love” (Gal 5:6).
When a “ritual” takes a centre stage at the expense of the virtues of faith, hope and love, the result is spiritual impoverishment.
Spiritual bankruptcy is a state of emptiness that hides behind inordinate attachment to the external things of religion. In that state, “rituals” become an opium to ease the pain of emptiness. This is when people hold on to rituals as clutches. Take away their clutches and their spiritual paralyses become evident.
When cleaning the outside of one’s life takes on a greater significance than the inside, we easily become hypocrites. The “outside” stands for all that we do to gain appreciation and reward from others devoid of any healthy relationship with God.
The readings of today invite us to embark on an inner journey of faith with Jesus Christ – a journey that expresses itself in love of God and neighbour.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, I turn to you in faith and ask you to fill the void inside me with the love of the Holy Spirit that I may live a life pleasing to the Father. Amen
Andrews Obeng, svd
DIVINE WORD MISSIONARIES
BIBLICAL PASTORAL MINISTRY
“May the darkness of sin and the night of unbelief vanish before the light of the Word and the Spirit of grace. And may the heart of Jesus live in the hearts of all people” (St. Arnold Janssen).