October 17, 2017
by Carol Zuegner
Creightion University's Journalism Department
click here for photo and information about the writer

Memorial of Saint Ignatius of Antioch, Bishop and Martyr
Lectionary: 468

Romans 1:16-25
Psalms 19:2-3, 4-5
Luke 11:37-41

Praying Ordinary Time

It’s what is on the inside that counts. I’ve heard that often; you probably have too. I know it is true. This world often focuses too much on what is outside, the superficial. We smile at someone, then talk behind that person’s back. We give generously at church, then we are selfish to our family. We work to make things look good on the outside, but we don’t focus on the foundation, what’s inside. We communicate in one-sentence texts instead of at a deeper level. But it is what is on the inside that counts.

In today’s Gospel, a Pharisee is surprised to see Jesus not observing the rituals of washing before the meal. Jesus rebukes him – if you clean the outside of the cup and dish, you haven’t really cleaned it if the inside is filled with plunder and evil. We can’t only talk the talk, we have to walk the walk with Jesus. Just going through the motions isn’t enough. We aren’t fooling anyone, likely not the people around us, definitely not Jesus and, if we are honest, we are not fooling ourselves. The good news is that Jesus accepts us as we are. He loves us in our brokenness.

We have to look inside even if we don’t like what’s there. We can change it. We can fill the dark spots inside full of light by letting God in. We can peel away the layers that show a false front to the world and reveal what’s inside. We don’t want to be like those in the first reading from Romans. They “became vain in their reasoning, and their senseless minds were darkened” because they did not give thanks to God. Today, I give thanks to God and open my heart to him. Let me focus on what’s on the inside so I can show God’s love on the outside.

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