Gospel Reflection- Tuesday (11 October) – 28th week of Ordinary Time – Law of the heart
Anne O’Brien, Director of Mission at St Agnes’ Catholic Parish, reads from the Gospel of Luke (11: 37-41) in which Jesus says one should not only appear to be good but to actually do what is good.
Today in this story, Anne says, Jesus is telling us about the importance of love and what’s on the inside of people. It is important, she says, to reflect how authentic we are; what’s on the inside of us and notes there is a phrase “What you see is what you get.” Some people are completely authentic. There’s nothing underhand or self-serving about them. Their smile reaches their eyes and reveals genuine warmth and friendliness. They are honest, trustworthy and good to know. Thank God for such beautiful people!
Anne notes, Jesus hadn’t planned to go to the Pharisee’s house for lunch. It was just that the invitation came while he was out speaking to a crowd. Perhaps he agreed on the spur of the moment; he might have needed to sit down, have a cold drink and something to eat before continuing his work.
There’s nothing in the Gospel to explain why Jesus didn’t wash his hands before sitting at the table. As an observant Jew, he knew what was expected: it was all written down in the Law of Moses. Jesus discovered that he was under scrutiny as soon as he entered the house.
Jesus, however, could play his host at his own game. If the Pharisee could complain that Jesus hadn’t washed his hands, Jesus could tackle him on the hypocrisy that made the law-enforcer look good on the outside while masking the negativity in his heart and life. Things would have been so different if the invitation to a meal had been given with generosity and sincerity.
There’s more to life than obeying the law of the land: there’s a law of the heart that demands a greater compliance. Love comes before the law. Lovelessness is a greater evil than lawlessness.
In closing, Anne offers this prayer:
Loving Lord, write your law of love on my heart. Let everything that I say, think and do be an act of love. Lord of my life, be the Lord of my love. Amen.