"The Pharisee was surprised that He had not first performed the ablutions prescribed before eating." —Luke 11:38
You've heard the expression: "Cleanliness is next to godliness." That's not in the Bible and it's not true. Not that there's no value to cleanliness, but it's not among the highest values.
The Pharisees were very interested in cleanliness, in the washings of hands, dishes, and utensils. But Jesus said: "You Pharisees! You cleanse the outside of cup and dish, but within you are filled with rapaciousness and evil. Fools! Did not He Who made the outside make the inside too?" (Lk 11:39-40)
We clean our teeth, take showers, vacuum carpets, wash cars, clean streets, shampoo rugs, and use mouthwash. We take time and spend money to wash just about everything, when the highest priority should not be the outside appearance but the inside.
How often do we sincerely ask the Lord to wash us clean? "Thoroughly wash me from my guilt and of my sin cleanse me" (Ps 51:4). How often do we go to Confession and celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation? Have we washed our robes in the blood of the Lamb? (Rv 7:14) Do we stand clean before the Lord, "holy and immaculate, without stain or wrinkle or anything of that sort"? (Eph 5:27)
Jesus' blood is the strongest purifying agent possible. Only our unwillingness can prevent us from being clean and holy as He is holy (1 Pt 1:16).
Prayer: Jesus, cleanse me by the living waters, Your shed blood, and the fire of the Spirit.
Promise: "It is in the Spirit that we eagerly await the justification we hope for, and only faith can yield it." —Gal 5:5
Praise: The letters written by St. Ignatius to various churches of his day urged all to unity in and through the Eucharist.
Reference: (For a related teaching, order our tape on The Necessity of Confession for Renewal on audio AV 70-1 or video V-70.)
Rescript: †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, April 6, 2006
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