Inside you are full of greed ...

While Jesus was speaking, a Pharisee asked him to dine with him, so he went in and reclined at table. The Pharisee was astonished to see that he did not first wash before dinner. 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 greed and wickedness. You fools! Did not he who made the outside make the inside also? But give as alms those things that are within, and behold, everything is clean for you.

“But woe to you Pharisees! For you tithe mint and rue and every herb, and neglect justice and the love of God. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others. Woe to you Pharisees! For you love the best seat in the synagogues and greetings in the marketplaces. Woe to you! For you are like unmarked graves, and people walk over them without knowing it.”

Often in the gospels that we get the idea that Jesus saw the Pharisees as his enemies. Yet in passages like this one we get a picture of Jesus dining with them and wanting to be a part of their lives. Yet the way Christ is treated by the Pharisee speaks strongly to Jesus' reaction. Can you imagine how you would have reacted to a host who criticized you, an invited guest, because you did not abide by their religious customs. Such is the setting that Jesus finds himself in.

Greed is a spiritual sickness that often manifests itself, in religious people anyway, in hypocrisy. Greed causes one to neglect the spirit of law in deference to the letter of it. The presence of greed is an evidence, to a degree anyway, of spiritual death. Jesus describes people who behave in such a way as being dead on the inside - the outer gravestone may be magnificent in appearance but the grave is filled with decaying bones. It is a graphic image of greed.

Deliver me from greed Lord Jesus. Cause generosity to spring up from my heart and slay greed in every way.

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