Memorial of Saint Ignatius of Antioch, Bishop and Martyr - Tuesday, 17th October 2017
Reading 1, Romans 1:16-25
20 ever since the creation of the world, the invisible existence of God and his everlasting power have been clearly seen by the mind's understanding of created things. And so these people have no excuse:
22 While they claimed to be wise, in fact they were growing so stupid
24 That is why God abandoned them in their inmost cravings to filthy practices of dishonouring their own bodies-
25 because they exchanged God's truth for a lie and have worshipped and served the creature instead of the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.
Responsorial Psalm, Psalms 19:2-3, 4-5
The heavens proclaim the glory of God.
2 day discourses of it to day, night to night hands on the knowledge.
3 No utterance at all, no speech, not a sound to be heard,
4 but from the entire earth the design stands out, this message reaches the whole world. High above, he pitched a tent for the sun,
5 who comes forth from his pavilion like a bridegroom, delights like a champion in the course to be run.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The word of God is living and effective,
able to discern reflections and thoughts of the heart.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel, Luke 11:37-41
What makes the heart clean and holy?
37 He had just finished speaking when a Pharisee invited him to dine at his house. He went in and sat down at table.
38 The Pharisee saw this and was surprised that he had not first washed before the meal.
39 But the Lord said to him, 'You Pharisees! You clean the outside of cup and plate, while inside yourselves you are filled with extortion and wickedness.
40 Fools! Did not he who made the outside make the inside too?
41 Instead, give alms from what you have and, look, everything will be clean for you.
Meditation: Is the Lord Jesus welcomed at your table and are you ready to feast at his table? A Pharisee, after hearing Jesus preach, invited him to dinner, no doubt, because he wanted to hear more from this extraordinary man who spoke the word of God as no one else had done before. It was not unusual for a rabbi to give a teaching over dinner. Jesus, however, did something which offended his host. He did not perform the ceremonial washing of hands before beginning the meal. Did Jesus forget or was he deliberately performing a sign to reveal something to his host? Jesus turned the table on his host by chiding him for uncleanness of heart.
Which is more important to God - clean hands or a clean mind and heart? Jesus chided the Pharisees for harboring evil thoughts that make us unclean spiritually - such as greed, pride, bitterness, envy, arrogance, and the like. Why does he urge them, and us, to give alms? When we give freely and generously to those in need we express love, compassion, kindness, and mercy. And if the heart is full of love and compassion, then there is no room for envy, greed, bitterness, and the like. Do you allow God's love to transform your heart, mind, and actions toward your neighbor?
Prayer: "Lord Jesus, fill me with your love and increase my thirst for holiness. Cleanse my heart of every evil thought and desire and help me to act kindly and justly and to speak charitably with my neighbor." Amen.
"I am not ashamed of the gospel." –Romans 1:16