Clean Your Insides
Gospel Reflection for August 23, 2022
Jesus said: “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You pay tithes of mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier things of the law: judgment and mercy and fidelity. But these you should have done, without neglecting the others. Blind guides, who strain out the gnat and swallow the camel! Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You cleanse the outside of cup and dish, but inside they are full of plunder and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee, cleanse first the inside of the cup, so that the outside also may be clean.” (Matthew 23:23-26)
In today’s Gospel, Jesus is once again calling out hypocritical actions and reminding the faithful that we must focus on cleaning our own souls instead of judging others.
Jesus points out that some of those who worship God only do so outwardly, going through worldly motions so they can appear as though they are ‘better’ than their neighbor. Many Catholics are guilty of this, too. There are those who give grand tithes to see their name on a plaque but rarely attend Mass. There are those who carry a Rosary, hanging out visibly for all to see, but they never use it. There are those who harshly judge the drug addiction of their neighbor while they neglect their family by overindulging in alcohol.
The outside of their cup is kept clean while the inside is left neglected. But we do not drink from the outside of a cup. It holds nothing. A golden goblet and a battered wooden cup can both hold water, but if the goblet is dirty while the cup is clean, then the one who drinks from the lowly cup will have life while the one who drinks from the goblet will decay with disease. The only thing the goblet-drinker gains is praise for his pretty cup, which fades upon death, as it was just an illusion.
The Bible tells us that we will be judged in the same manner that we judge others. Our sins will be forgiven if we ask, but the judgment upon us is directly tied to the measure of judgment we dole out to our neighbor. Do not put on airs of outward signs of faith, turning up your nose at your neighbor, while neglecting the more important, hidden, tasks of holiness. Judge yourself and not others. Clean the inside of your cup so that it does not contaminate the contents within.
Copyright 2022 Jessica Tucker