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Holiness is Within

Nasa Puso, Wala sa Himala
October 12, 2020
Seeking What Matters Most
October 14, 2020
PITIK-BULAG: Holiness is Within
 
Our aim in life is to please the Lord by submitting ourselves to Him and living a righteous life. But sad to say, we have a different notion of righteousness. Like the Pharisees in our gospel today, they gave great importance to external righteousness, which was based on worshiping God by strictly following religious rituals imposed by their religious traditions. By performing these detailed rituals with great devotion, they gained people’s admiration, thus convinced themselves of their holiness.
 
In the gospel today, Jesus lost his temper when the Pharisee scolded him for not complying with the detailed step-by-step rituals of washing hands before eating. He quickly said …
 
“You Pharisees! You clean the outside of cup and plate, while inside yourselves you are filled with extortion and wickedness. Fools! Did not He who made the outside make the inside too? Instead, give alms from what you have and, look, everything will be clean for you.” (Luke 11: 39-41).
 
With Jesus’ humiliating yet candid reply, the Lord was able to teach the Pharisees some important lessons regarding TRUE WORSHIP, or shall I say TRUE RIGHTEOUSNESS. He even called the Pharisees fools for not recognizing what matters most in worshiping the Lord. WHAT MATTERS MOST IS NOT OUR EXTERNAL PURITY AND RIGID OBSERVANCE OF RITUALS, BUT OUR INTERNAL PURITY AND LOVING OBSERVANCE OF THE COMMANDMENT OF LOVE.
 
We should ask ourselves also with regard to our understanding of true holiness. Are we fools like the Pharisees? Are we aiming to please others and not God? Do we give prime importance to our external appearance and less of our inner purity? Are we concerned about what the people will say and not what the Lord will say to us? Do we see the importance of charity and mercy as the only way to righteousness?
 
In our gospel today, the Lord showed his frustration to the Pharisees for their WRONG WAY OF WORSHIPING GOD. They gave prime importance on external worship but neglected the main essence of true worship: purification of their hearts from sins, evil deceits, lies, pride, selfishness, and self-righteousness. There was a HUGE CONTRADICTION BETWEEN THE OUTSIDE AND INSIDE appearance.
 
In the end, the Lord wanted them to consider TRUE WORSHIP by focusing on the COMMANDMENT OF LOVE to please God, and not themselves. He wanted them to concentrate on the RITUALS OF LOVING OTHERS that could liberate themselves from self-love and false worship.
 
In the final analysis, it is the Lord that we desire to worship. Let’s seek to please Him, not others, or ourselves. We don’t want to hear the Lord calling us fools – for our failure to see what pleases Him most, that is TO LOVE OTHERS.
 
– Fr. Wilfredo M. Samson, SJ
 
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October 13, 2020 – Tuesday
Gospel Reading: Luke 11: 37-41

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