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Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Harsh words from Jesus

By Deacon Paul Rooney

Jesus has some harsh words in today's Gospel for those who do not tend to their spiritual journey.  One road on this spiritual journey speaks to me of love, and our invited response to the ethical demand of the gospel.  The other road speaks to me of hypocrisy.  Both roads reveal themselves eventually.

I can remember vividly the time when I was a paperboy for the Fremont Tribune many decades ago.Every late afternoon during the weekdays I would make my rounds delivering the Tribune.  Then on the first Saturday morning of the month, I would make the rounds collecting the monthly subscription price of 15¢. [How times change…the price today is $12.25 to have it delivered to your door by a paperboy!]

During the daily deliveries all month long, all I would see would be the outside of the homes: all very nicely painted, yards well-trimmed, and so on.  But once a month when I collected, they would invite me inside and I would see the absolute mess or chaos that the homes really looked like inside, away from the eyes of the world.  I suspect many of us can visualize that scene.  How many times have we received a surprise phone call from someone saying they would be arriving soon to visit - - so we hit the panic button and clean up the inside of the house (or at least that part that the Visitor will see)!

This is sort of what Jesus is getting at in today’s Gospel (Luke 11:37-41). Jesus seems to get a little tough with his host, calling him and all the Pharisees fools!! That’s probably not something you would expect an invited person to call you, right in your own home. But that really was in keeping with the rabbinic tradition, which could also be harsh with some Pharisees.  In that culture, it meant that the Pharisees were being seen by Jesus as being arrogant, which in turn means the Pharisees were acting out of self-important pride in their own ability to follow the ritual rulebook.  And their man-made rulebook said that everyone had to wash their hands and forearms before eating.

Continue reading at Journey to Wisdom.

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