Reflection by Meggie K. Daly
Today’s Gospel: Luke 11:37-41 – Memorial of Saint Teresa of Jesus
In today’s Gospel, Jesus is invited to eat at the home of a Pharisee. We do not know what motivated the Pharisee to ask Jesus to dinner. Perhaps he was genuinely interested in getting to know Jesus better. Or maybe he wanted to observe some infraction of the law that could be used against Jesus later. If the latter, the Pharisee was not disappointed. Apparently, Jesus didn’t “observe the prescribed washing before the meal” which scandalized the host.
Jesus lectures His host, “Oh, you Pharisees! Although you cleanse the outside of the cup and the dish, inside you are filled with plunder and evil. You fools! Did not the maker of the outside also make the inside? But as to what is within, give alms, and behold, everything will be clean for you.”
Once again, Jesus teaches us how offensive preoccupation with appearances over inner purity is to God. Rituals can be beautiful — we have many in the practice of our Catholic faith; however, ritual devoid of “heart” is empty and offensive to God.
Today is the feast day of St. Teresa of Avila. In her autobiography, “The Life of Saint Teresa of Avila,” she recounts that in her younger years, she frequently prayed and read spiritual books, often spoke of God, surrounded herself with sacred art, was kind to all, and knew just how to act to garner the respect of others. She confesses that her outwardly pious actions were motivated by vainglory.
The real conversion in St. Teresa’s spiritual life began when she read St. Augustine’s book, “Confessions.” At that point she allowed God’s purifying touch to empty her heart of vanity, and thus began her journey down the path of authentic spiritual growth. May the Lord empty us of our own vanity.
Am I brave enough to look into the deepest recesses of my heart and to be honest about what I may find?
Holy Spirit, send Your grace to purify my heart. Help me walk the path of spiritual integrity.
Copyright 2019 Meggie K. Daly
Meggie K. Daly is the author of Bead by Bead: The Scriptural Rosary. She is the mother of six adult children and five grandchildren. She is a retired research scientist. Meggie occasionally blogs at meggieKdaly.blogspot.com and is working on her second book.
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