WEEK TWENTY ONE – WEDNESDAY – AUGUST 25, 2021 – WHITEWASHED TOMBS (Mt 23:27-37)

Prayer:

O Jesus, send your Holy Spirit, the fire of true repentance. 

Imagination:

Picture Jesus teaching inner holiness.

Context:

Jesus continues to confront his opponents about their false teachings which lead many astray. “The cup and the dish” are people who follow the Pharisees. They are not taught to purify their hearts. In Jesus’ time, tombs were whitewashed so people could avoid them and not contract ritual impurity. Inside, however, there were decaying bodies, a symbol of outward religious practice that does not cleanse the heart.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.) 

Jesus said, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You clean the outside of the cup and the dish, but within you are full of plunder and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisees, first make clean the inside of the cup so that the outside might also be clean. 

You are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful to men but within are full of dead men’s bones and all kinds of filth. Outwardly, you appear just to men, but inwardly are full of hypocrisy and evil.” 

Thoughts: (Read all. Ponder the ones that attract you.) 

  1. A hypocrite is someone who is evil and has no desire to change but wants people to think that he is a good person. 
  2. The Pharisees stress external religious devotions but have no desire to cleanse their hearts. 
  3. Cleansing thoughts, feelings and actions is the difficult religious task. 
  4. To “plunder” is to take advantage of others. 
  5. To “self-indulge” is to place no restraint on inner desires. 
  6. To “whitewash” is to cover over the real problem. 
  7. Outwardly the person seems alive. Inwardly, they are dead. 
  8. Jesus challenges the disciples to make serious, inner changes. 

Affections: (When one touches your heart, use your own words.) 

  • Change me completely, Lord. I give you my permission. 
  • Send your Spirit of truth so I do not fool myself. 
  • Jesus, I will not take advantage of others. 
  • O Lord, help me to restrain my desires. 
  • Send your inner fire down from heaven. 
  • Burn away all that is evil so I might live in you. 

Resolutions: (Possibly you might want to make your own.) 

+ I will ask for light to know all my faults. 

+ I will seek to restrain my sinful desires. 

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation.) 

Clean first the inside of the cup, that the outside might also be clean.