Cleanse the Cup from Inside Out

Jesus said: “Woe to you, scribes and religious leaders, 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 religious leaders, you hypocrites. You cleanse the outside of cup and dish, but inside they are full of plunder and self-indulgence. Blind leaders, cleanse first the inside of the cup, so that the outside also may be clean.”

MT 23:23-26

Cleanse the Cup from Inside Out:

Paying taxes is important since it is by use of the tax money that the government is able to carry out projects that benefit all. For this reason, to pay taxes is as sacred as paying tithes. There are shopkeepers and traders and even workers who cheat the government of tax money by not reporting their earnings or profits. This a violation of justice in its distributive nature. While paying taxes is important, there are other duties that are important too. It is not very becoming of a person to neglect helping the poor and those in need from the claim that he pays taxes and so he is not obligated to do other charitable works. Today’s society is suffering neglect of the needy while there are so many wealthy people who feel that they have done enough after paying taxes. It is to such that Jesus tries to correct by letting them know that they can do both. They can pay taxes and also attend in good judgment to works of mercy. Leaving so many people in destitution and misery to exonerate oneself by showing a copy of tax returns is like claiming to have saved a life by killing a dog and saving a tick that was biting it. Jesus gives the example of one who would remove an irritating gnat from a camel but end up killing the camel he is supposed to rescue from the gnat.

There are those who look good in front of the law while they oppress others or live a life that is not consistent with the Christian calling. They like “keeping appearances” while their true self is a kind of a deception. Jesus compares such with a person who would clean the outside of a dish but leave the inside soiled. Of course it is also not right to cleanse the inside and leave the outside dirty. Rather, one should do both. This is like encouraging one who goes to confession for soul cleansing to maintain hygienic measures in life too. However, Jesus’ message is that His followers must live what they believe and believe what they live. For a Christian there should not be any grey area when it comes to pursuit of holiness and of charity. The rule is, be good and do good.

God Bless!

Fr. Gabriel

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