Tuesday, October 14, 2014
28th Week in Ordinary Time
1st Reading: Gal 5:1-6
Gospel: Luke 11:37-41
As Jesus was speaking, a Pharisee asked him to have a meal with him. So he went and sat at table. The Pharisee then wondered why Jesus did not first wash his hands before dinner. But the Lord said to him, “So then, you Pharisees, you clean the outside of the cup and the dish, but inside yourselves you are full of greed and evil. Fools! He who made the outside, also made the inside. But according to you, by the mere giving of alms everything is made clean.”
(Daily Gospel in the Assimilated Life Experience)
People attach so much significance to meals. Owen Meredith wrote: “We may live without poetry, music and art; we may live without conscience, and live without heart; we may live without friends; we may live without books; but civilized man cannot live without cooks.”
A meal is supposed to be a happy event. How unfortunate that Jesus should experience a sad one at the house of a religious leader of his community. The Pharisee who had invited him to a meal watched him closely and criticized him bitterly, making a big issue out of ceremonial details like the washing of hands before eating. This ritual had nothing to do with physical hygiene since the water used was as inadequate for cleansing as the content of an eggshell.
Perhaps the Pharisee himself was no longer concerned about the meaning behind this ritual but was just being the meticulous Pharisee that he was. Be that as it may, it was unfair that he treated Jesus that way. The inhospitality of the Pharisee is too glaring if viewed from the perspective of the love commandment that Jesus was trying to establish.
In how many homes is this scenario duplicated? Where charity is not observed at table children will learn to associate meals with conflicts. The excitement to take meals together dies down and family members will soon begin to treat one another as mates in a boarding house. The power of association cannot be underestimated. When I was a child, I knew my mother would never punish me when we had visitors in the house. It was thus that I learned to associate the presence of visitors with peace, amnesty and even impunity. If a similar association is attached to a meal, each family member will come running home at each mealtime.
A fast food chain is cashing in on the concept of a happy meal because everyone wants to be happy at mealtime. While everyone expects to get the lion’s share at table nobody would like to dine with a roaring lion. Perhaps God has designed meals to be so in order to provide families with venue to express concretely their love for one another. – Rev. Fr. Dan Domingo P. delos Angeles, Jr., DM. Email:firstname.lastname@example.org. Website: www.frdan.org.
Prayer for the day: God our Father, make us sensitive to the needs of others as we strive to celebrate your love in every meal we partake of. Grant this through Christ our Lord. Amen.
SAINT OF THE DAY: St. Callistus, a slave from Rome. After losing the money of his master, he panicked and fled from the city. Unfortunately, he was caught and condemned to die but was released upon the intercession of the Emperor’s friend. He served Pope Victor who was impressed by his devotion to the Sardinian Martyrs. He became a deacon and later the secretary of Pope Zephyrinus who assigned him to be in charge of the Christian cemetery on the Appian Way. Elected Pope in 217, Callistus fought the heretics with success. He was martyred in the hands of a mob in 222.