October 15, 2019 – Tuesday 28th Week in Ordinary Time
Memorial of St. Teresa of Avila, Virgin and Doctor of the Church
A reading from the Letter of Paul to the Romans (1:16-25)
Brothers and sisters:
I am not ashamed of the Gospel.
It is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes:
for Jew first, and then Greek.
For in it is revealed the righteousness of God from faith to faith;
as it is written, “The one who is righteous by faith will live.”
The wrath of God is indeed being revealed from heaven
against every impiety and wickedness
of those who suppress the truth by their wickedness.
For what can be known about God is evident to them,
because God made it evident to them.
Ever since the creation of the world,
his invisible attributes of eternal power and divinity
have been able to be understood and perceived in what he has made.
As a result, they have no excuse;
for although they knew God
they did not accord him glory as God or give him thanks.
Instead, they became vain in their reasoning,
and their senseless minds were darkened.
While claiming to be wise, they became fools
and exchanged the glory of the immortal God
for the likeness of an image of mortal man
or of birds or of four-legged animals or of snakes.
Therefore, God handed them over to impurity
through the lusts of their hearts
for the mutual degradation of their bodies.
They exchanged the truth of God for a lie
and revered and worshiped the creature rather than the creator,
who is blessed forever. Amen.
A reading from the Holy Gospel according to Luke (11:37-41)
After Jesus had spoken,
a Pharisee invited him to dine at his home.
He entered and reclined at table to eat.
The Pharisee was amazed to see
that he did not observe the prescribed washing before the meal.
The Lord said to him, “Oh you Pharisees!
Although you cleanse the outside of the cup and the dish,
inside you are filled with plunder and evil.
Did not the maker of the outside also make the inside?
But as to what is within, give alms,
and behold, everything will be clean for you.”
St Paul tells us of the danger of a conscious denial of God. God’s presence can indeed be felt everywhere and by everyone. However, the people of his time denied God’s presence and power through their wicked practices. They knew God but did not adhere God and did not recognize God’s tremendous love.
These people continued to worship what were only beneficial to them. They worshipped material things that would only feed them with comfort, riches, power and influence.
As a result, they favored lies rather than the truth. They preferred corruption rather than honesty. They loved to possess rather than to give. However, such life only led them to darkness and to a life that can never be satisfied. They remained hungry and dull. This truly happened as the people put God aside in their life.
This resonates with the reaction of Jesus towards the Pharisee who tended to put more emphasis on human regulations rather than on what God intended originally. This Pharisee represented those people who elaborated the law of Moses with hundreds of laws. They believed that it was the best way to obey God’s command.
Nevertheless, this was not the case. Jesus confronted the Pharisees of their mistake. They, in fact, worshipped more the law rather than the Lord. By putting more emphasis on the law, they also forgot to be compassionate to the poor and to be grateful to the Lord.
Consequently, the Pharisees became vicious in their treatment with the common people. Since they thought of themselves highly, they looked down at the poor and the sick. Because of their self-righteousness they have become indifferent to the lowly.
This was evident in the way they presented themselves. They have become people who were merely concerned of the outside, of their physical appearance rather than of their hearts. They looked flawless outside but with a corrupt heart inside. This again was a form of putting God aside.
With these, Jesus invites us today to rather make God as the most essential in our life because a life that continually denies God will only lead to emptiness and unsatisfied life. Making others things more important in our life other than God will bring us to a deep spiritual hunger and corruption. These things could be our own material possessions, successes and achievements, influence and fame or simply ourselves, our vices and addictions, our selfish actions and intentions.
Indeed, St. Teresa of Avila whose feast we celebrate today reminds us of a person who truly found satisfaction, true comfort and riches with God. Through her closeness with Jesus, Teresa would always discern and choose God’s desire for her rather than her personal desires even if that led to personal conflict and difficulty.
She made God as the most essential in her life which made her offer also herself. Accordingly, she had become an ‘influencer’ during her lifetime. She radiated and shared God’s presence in her life and through her actions, her works and speech. She, indeed, found what filled her and satisfied her. Teresa is known to have said,
“God alone is sufficient.”
Thus, hopefully, we may also discover that indeed God alone is sufficient for us, that nothing can truly satisfy us or fill us but God alone. Like Teresa, we may also grow in our confidence with Jesus despite our feelings of insecurities and anxieties in life. Hinaut pa.
Jom Baring, CSsR