Internal and External

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God doesn’t care about anyone’s background. You don’t have to have any kind of “pedigree” to give your life to Christ. St. Paul puts it like this in today’s first reading: “For in Christ Jesus, neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love.”

In today’s Gospel reading from Luke 11, Jesus begins a diatribe against the Pharisees. “Although you cleanse the outside of the cup and the dish, inside you are filled with plunder and evil. You fools! Did not the maker of the outside also make the inside?” Of course, Jesus was not talking about cups and dishes. He was talking about their lives, their hearts. The pretty stuff on the outside didn’t match what was on the inside.

How do these two readings relate to one another? They're both about external versus internal. Circumcision is an external thing. When it comes to the soul, it means nothing. It's the same with all things external. You can wear Christian t-shirts and jewelry or an alb or a chasuble and it can all be meaningless if internally you're not changed. In fact, don't we sometimes hide the mess inside with those nice trappings?

Father, forgive us for the many times when the outside doesn’t match up with the inside. Help us be open to the cleansing fire of your Holy Spirit. Amen.

Today's Readings

Christmas is just over two months away. Order copies of A Minute in the Church for your parish to give away at Christmas at


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