Cleansing the Heart

First Reading: 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.

Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 19:2-3, 4-5

R. (2a) The heavens proclaim the glory of God.

The heavens declare the glory of God,
and the firmament proclaims his handiwork.
Day pours out the word to day,
and night to night imparts knowledge.

R. The heavens proclaim the glory of God.

Not a word nor a discourse
whose voice is not heard;
Through all the earth their voice resounds,
and to the ends of the world, their message.

R. The heavens proclaim the glory of God.

Gospel: 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.
You fools!
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.”


oct 13

I recently gave my fridge the deep clean. The one where everything is removed and dumped if past its prime or growing a new species. Then, of course, the hands and knees scrubbing begins. It’s a chore that I dread but hope to accomplish quarterly; if I’m honest with myself, it’s more of a bi-annual event. It just tends to be something I shrug off with a “Nobody’s gonna even look in there” attitude.

You may be wondering how this gross revelation of mine is relevant to our Catholic faith. Well, trade this nasty fridge for our hearts. I find I often fall into that same attitude knowing that yes, God looks in there, but not always acting like it. How often do we keep our outside actions looking pretty clean, but on the inside we allow our hearts to get layered in slime? The reigns on our actions and words might be mostly controlled , but how about our thoughts and the wanderings of our hearts?

What we plant is what we sow, even when it’s hidden from human view. When we allow our “inner cup” to get all scummy, with no time or effort taken to wipe it out occasionally, we’re allowing sin to have a foothold there. Even if nobody comes to look inside and see that slime, it is there. As Christians our aim is higher. God truly wants us to shine on both sides of our cup.

Take time to wipe the grime from the inside of your cup. Our Lord deeply cares about each of our hearts and has shown us goodness in the teaching of the Church and the grace of the Sacraments. He is there waiting for us to partake in this goodness and to help heal our hearts from sin, to cleanse us from our crud. Don’t be hesitant to receive this gift straight from the heart of Jesus. He longs for you to be free of grime and full of His love.

If you don’t already, begin making a nightly examination of conscience, remembering to recall your thoughts of the day. I really like this list by Father Peter Carota as a way to get started.

photo by Sara Miller

Sarah Ortiz is a Catholic convert, and when not folding laundry, she can be found reading, experimenting in the kitchen, or writing at her blog. You can find out more about her here.

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