The Gospel of Luke: a commentary & meditation 
 "Give for alms those things which are within"

Scripture:  Luke 11:37-41

37 While he was speaking, a Pharisee asked him to dine with him; so he went in and sat at table. 38 The Pharisee was astonished to see that he did not first wash before dinner. 39 And the Lord said to him, "Now you Pharisees cleanse the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside you are full of extortion and  wickedness. 40 You fools! Did not he who made the outside make the inside also? 41 But give for alms those things which are within; and behold, everything is clean for you.

Meditation: Is the Lord 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 -- 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 and mind?

"Lord, 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."

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 (c) 1999 Don Schwager