1 For freedom Christ has set us free; stand fast therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.2 Now I, Paul, say to you that if you receive circumcision, Christ will be of no advantage to you.
3 I testify again to every man who receives circumcision that he is bound to keep the whole law.4 You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace.5 For through the Spirit, by faith, we wait for the hope of righteousness.6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision is of any avail, but faith working through love.
37 While he was speaking, a Pharisee asked him to dine with him; so he went in and sat at table.38 The Pharisee was astonished to see that he did not first wash before dinner.39 And the Lord said to him, “Now you Pharisees cleanse the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside you are full of extortion and wickedness.
4 You fools! Did not he who made the outside make the inside also?41 But give for alms those things which are within; and behold, everything is clean for you.
St PAUL is at pains trying to explain that anyone who put their hope in the OT rite of circumcision as well as the burdensome works of the law; describing it to be “a yoke of slavery,” no longer apply and is therefore meritless. Moreover those who insist on being circumcised after they have been baptised, is cut off from the grace brought about in and through Christs death and ressurection. Paul drive home the point that those who have submitted to Christ in the rite of baptism are called to live a rightly ordered life by faith, working through love, hope and charity.
THE GOSPEL READING: A veriaty precedural customs, rituals and prayers that accompanied the washing of hands prior to partaking in a meal, had nothing to do with external cleanliness but more to do with the state of mind and soul of those who sit at table. Similarly before vesting in the sacristy and before offering of the gifts on the altar, the celebrant priest typically wash his hands and pray psalm 25 (vv 6 -12) in humble submission to the ways of Christ.
Rather than dismissing the sacred ritual of washing ones hands, our Lords response to His generous host attempts to reinstate the scope and meaning of the ritual of the washing of hands and prayers, as God had intended it to be. Freedom comes with responsibility,thus Christ drive home the point that anyone who is invited to sit at the Eucharistic table with Him, should be spiritually clean—in a state of grace. Moreover communicants should have been charitable loving, caring, forgiving before we can sit at table and eat His flesh, and drink His blood. Conversly, if we have fallen away and our soul be unclean, then we are severed from Christ!
LET US PRAY:Psalms 119:41,43,45,47-48
41 Let thy steadfast love come to me, O LORD, thy salvation according to thy promise;43 And take not the word of truth utterly out of my mouth, for my hope is in thy ordinances.45 and I shall walk at liberty, for I have sought thy precepts.47 for I find my delight in thy commandments, which I love.
48 I revere thy commandments, which I love, and I will meditate on thy statutes.
Commentary. Henry R SYLVESTER Note: The daily scripture readings are taken from the Roman Missal which the Catholic Church use in the daily Celebration of the Holy Eucharist throughout the world.Some weekly readings may differ because of the celebration of local feast days.
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