WHAT'S ON THE INSIDE OF THE CUP?
TUESDAY OF THE TWENTY-FIRST WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME
Today's Gospel from the 23rd chapter of Matthew might make all of us feel a little uneasy. Jesus is calling out the scribes and Pharisees for neglecting the inside of the cup. Meaning they worry about how their lives look on the outside but neglect their spiritual life. How many times have we done that?!?—worried about outside appearances while our heart is filled with anxiety, anger, loneliness? You can look put together on the outside and fool the neighbors, but God knows what mess is going on in there. You can't hide from Him. Adam and Eve tried hiding in the garden, look at how that turned out!
The Alleluia refrain tells us. "The word of God is living and effective, able to discern reflections and thoughts of the heart." (HEB 4:12) God is reminding us in today's Gospel that the thoughts of the heart are what matters. Only God knows what trials and suffering we are asked to endure. The great thing about being a follower of Christ is that He is there with us through all of it. He doesn't leave us in our mess to figure it out alone.
Today's first reading tells us:
May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who has loved us and given us everlasting encouragement and good hope through his grace, encourage your hearts and strengthen them in every good deed and word. (2 THES 2:14-17)
We are not stuck where we are. We are not alone. The saving power of Christ rescues us, encourages us, gives us HOPE! His love and grace work to perfect our hearts so that we may be strengthened in faith. That grace changes us; it opens our hearts to receive and give love.
May we turn our focus to the Lord with humble hearts asking for the grace to receive His love and to pour that love out onto everyone we meet.