REFLECTION FOR TODAY,
October 13, 2020
By Fr. Andrew Ibegbulem, OSA
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!” Luke 11:39-40
To wash a car is not quite the same as to service a car. To wash a car would simply means that we clean off whatever dirt that is on the chassis and we would be quite satisfied by that. To service a car would mean much more work. Just opening the hood of a car and looking at the engine would mean that it would be a demanding task.
But by and large, we would be quite contented with appearances and leave insides for another time or until a problem appears. Jesus chided those who only care about appearances and impressions. He calls them “fools”. They care about the outsides but are not too concerned with the insides. Jesus pointed out that the inside is where the big problem is, and that is often the case.
So, Jesus was continually critical of the Pharisees for being caught up with their external appearance and ignoring the sacredness of their souls. It appears that Pharisee after Pharisee fell into this same trap. Their pride led them to become obsessed with their external appearance of righteousness. Sadly, their external appearance was only a mask over the “plunder and evil” that consumed them from within. For that reason Jesus calls them “fools.”
This head on challenge from our Lord was clearly an act of love in that He deeply desired that they looked at that which was within so as to cleanse their hearts and souls of all evil. It appears that, in the case of the Pharisees, they needed to be called out directly for their evil. This was the only way they would have a chance of repenting.
The same can be true for all of us at times. Each one of us can struggle with being far more concerned about our public image than about the sanctity of our souls. But what is more important? What’s important is that which God sees within. God sees our intentions and all that is deep within our consciences. He sees our motivations, our virtues, our sins, our attachments, and everything hidden from the eyes of others. We, too, are invited to see that which Jesus sees. We are invited to look at our souls in the light of truth.
Do you see your soul? Do you examine your conscience each and every day? You should examine your conscience by looking within and seeing what God sees through times of prayer and honest introspection. Perhaps the Pharisees regularly fooled themselves into thinking all was well in their souls. If you do the same at times, you also may need to learn from the strong words of Jesus.
Reflect, today, upon your soul. Do not be afraid to look at it in the light of truth and to see your life as God sees it. This is the first and most important step in becoming truly holy. And it’s not only the way to cleanse our souls, it’s also the necessary step in allowing our external life to shine brightly with the light of God’s grace.
Lord, I want to become holy. I want to be cleansed through and through. Help me to see my soul as You see it and to allow Your grace and mercy to cleanse me in the ways that I need to be cleansed. Jesus, I trust in You.