Jesus ridicules the Pharisees for their ignorance and foolish hand-washing rituals. Every Catholic man can grow in happiness by seeking the Fruits of Love and Generosity from the Holy Spirit and by building the Virtue of Piety so he can be guided by God to practice personal devotions.
28th Week in Ordinary time – Tuesday– Lk 11:37-41
After chastising the crowds for being “an evil and adulterous generation”, and exhorting them to seek His wisdom (light) to grow in holiness, Jesus accepts an invitation to dine with a Pharisee and his guests. Knowing the corrupt and hypocritical Pharisees reject His Gospel, Jesus is well aware His Pharisee host will try to trap Him in some legal error.
Jesus does not ritually wash His hands prior to the meal in opposition to the strict legalistic ritual of the Pharisees, going beyond what was necessary to have clean, hygienic hands. Jesus’ refusal to engage in the Pharisee’s ritual washings is purposefully provocative, for He knows it will cause conflict as the Pharisees seek to denounce and condemn Him; instead, Jesus will turn the tables on the Pharisees and use their man-made rituals to rebuke them and seek to call them back to true worship. As anticipated by Jesus, the Pharisee reacts with inner condemnation because Jesus did not ritually wash His hands, and Jesus begins a scathing rebuke targeted at the scribes and Pharisees.
Jesus indicts the Pharisees’ attempts to adhere to outer acts of piety (clean the outside of the cup) while evilly plotting in their hearts to steal (rapacity, greed, extortion). Spectacularly impolite, Jesus calls the Pharisees “fools” for their ignorance of God’s gift of the soul and the need for inner holiness. Instead of their empty rituals, Jesus directs the Pharisees to unselfishly give alms to the poor, in penance for one’s sinful thoughts and deeds, and so to have the true cleanliness of being pure of heart.
Be awed by Jesus Christ
Be shocked by the Harshness of Jesus as He Rebukes the unrighteous Pharisees: full of righteous Anger, despite the powerful Pharisees’ plots to kill Him and the established protocols of being a guest, Jesus Courageously (a part of Fortitude) Rebukes them; fiery in Truth (a part of Justice), Jesus uses Insulting (fools) and Condemning (extortionists, wickedness) words, seeking to reach the hard-hearted Pharisees; the perfection of Charity, Jesus offers Admonishment (a Spiritual Work of Mercy), directing them towards right spiritual practice.
Learn about and frequently use Sacramentals
Realize: Sacramentals are “sacred signs which bear a certain resemblance to the sacraments, and by means of which spiritual effects are signified and obtained through the prayers of the Church” (CCC 1667). In His rejection of the Pharisees’ hand washing rituals, Jesus does not condemn the importance of Sacramentals; rather, He condemns the Pharisees’ lack of love. Every Catholic man can help grow in holiness and build the faith by learning about and making frequent use of Sacramentals, such as blessing children with the Sign of the Cross, using Holy Water in the home, laying on of hands, etc.
Believe: Reflect upon Sacramentals (CCC 1667-1673, 1677-1678, 2626-2627).
Pray: Holy Spirit, give me the Fruits of Love and Generosity so I am motivated by love to generously make frequent use of Sacramentals to grow in personal holiness and offer blessings to my wife, children and others.
Be guided by God to practice personal devotions
Realize: While Jesus condemns the hypocritical rituals of the Pharisees because they fail to love, He does not condemn acts of piety.
Believe: Renew your understanding of Popular Piety (CCC 1674-1676, 1679).
Pray: Jesus, Divine Priest, help me build the Virtue of Piety (a part of Justice) so it is my daily priority to give Your Father, You, and the Holy Spirit my thanks and praise, I offer my daily devotion to Your Blessed Mother and St. Joseph, and I am guided by You to other devotions You wish for me to pray.