Jesus said: "Woe to
you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint, dill,
and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the
law: justice and mercy and faith. It is these you
ought to have practiced without neglecting the others. You blind
guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel!
"Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean
the outside of the cup and of the plate, but
inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. You blind
Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup, so that
the outside also may become clean.
Introductory Prayer: Lord, I come to you again in
prayer. Even though I cannot see you, I know through
faith that you are present in my life. I hope
in your promise to be with me. I love you,
and I know you love me. Accept this prayer as
a token of my love.
Petition: Lord, help me to dedicate my life to
weightier matters rather than mere appearances.
1. Tithed Up in Knots: When God originally commanded
his people to tithe, it was so that they would
acknowledge him as the source of all the gifts in
their lives. It was to be the recognition on their
part that all they had was from him, that he
is Lord, and that his law is the way to
salvation. Yet it became easy for the Israelites to fall
into legalism and forget the true purpose of the tithe.
They observed the letter of the law and forgot the
meaning of the law: acknowledge the sovereignty of God. In
the end, all we are and all we have belongs
to God. We have to use our talents, wealth and
possessions all for him and his kingdom. Is there some
area in which I do not acknowledge his sovereignty in
Really Counts: What are the weightier matters of the law?
Jesus speaks of justice and mercy and faith. When we
neglect these, we are distorting true religion, for true religion
is not a question of formalisms and actions to appease
God, but rather of turning our hearts to his word.
We need to make our hearts more like his, in
charity and mercy toward others. How many times do we
miss the most important things and work only at side
issues? How often do we try to please God in
the wrong way, by supposing we are doing his will
when really we are only doing our own will instead?
How often do we forget the true essence of devotion
to the law of God?
3. Interior Cleaning: “First clean the inside of the cup…”
We should tend to our soul and make sure the
intentions behind our actions are holy motivations. We need to
check our heart frequently so that we can work with
purity of intention. Sometimes we work only to present an
appearance to others, to appear virtuous and holy, but inside
we are filled with negative judgments, such as lack of
charity. Virtue comes from within the heart of a person,
where the Spirit dwells and inspires as he wills. We
need to be attentive to the Holy Spirit and follow
Christ: Lord, you know what is in my heart. Purify
it and recast it in the image of your divine
heart, so that I may love you and love others
as you love them. Let me put aside all vanity
and desire for appearances that does not give glory to
Resolution: I will examine
my conscience as to the motives of my actions each
day, making sure I am inspired by mercy, justice and