Jewish culture contained specific rules on how to wash one’s hands. There were things that they considered unclean and so did not want anything unclean to enter their bodies. Jesus points out to them the only unclean things in their bodies are their thoughts and lack of love for those in need. Even their actions were unclean as they sought to justify their misdeeds by twisting the law in their favor and burdening others with unnecessary human rules, not God given directions.
As you reflect on the readings for today, do you experience a twinge of guilt? Perhaps. Sometimes acknowledging our faults or sinfulness we might want to draw away from God. That is not what God desires. What does God desire? That we be merciful, extend justice to all, and love our neighbor.
As we examine our own sinfulness, we realize that we can draw closer to God by doing what He desires. When we extend mercy to those who have hurt us, when we extend forgiveness to those who have deceived us, and when we extend love to those who hate us, we are doing God’s will and in so doing are drawing closer to Him.
As we grow closer to God, we leave this world behind. Yes, we still live in the world, but we focus now the spiritual world of God. Our thoughts and actions focus on doing the will of God because we want to. We are in a pre-Lent time. A time to evaluate our relationship with God. What will you work on this week?
May the Lord bless you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen