Urszula lives with us at the monastery. She is one of four women who will knock on the door two weeks from now and enter the monastery as a “postulant.” Early on in her stay with us, Urszula noticed that the tea cups in our Dining Room were seriously stained. Urszula proceeded to clean the cups, one by one, with some magic combination of water and elbow grease. The time-consuming task was done freely and because it needed doing. I think we must have forgotten what clean cups look like. New eyes and generous hearts are such a blessing!
In today’s gospel the Church is given an unusually harsh saying with which to pray. This section of Matthew’s account is filled with “woe’s.” In the time of Christ, “woe to you,” meant “beware,” “change you ways.” Those poor men JESUS was addressing thought they had salvation all figured out. JESUS, because He loved them, too, confronted them with the reality of their souls using a clever metaphor.
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites.You cleanse the outside of cup and dish, but inside they are full of plunder and self-indulgence.Blind Pharisee, cleanse first the inside of the cup, so that the outside also may be clean.”
We are like those Pharisees and scribes sometimes. We get kind of used to the way we are inside and think it’s just fine. That’s when the Word brings us back to the path of becoming. That’s when we get out the bleach and detergent and clean things up a bit. We don’t want to stay as we are or get used to the “stains” of selfishness, pride and anger. Even if the stains aren’t really so bad, we want to be a pure vessel for the love of GOD. We want to be inside what we claim to be outside. And because He loves us, JESUS lets each of us know when it’s time to “clean the inside of [our] cup.”
Blessings and love to you all…
- Sister Vicki