Many of us make great efforts to keep ourselves clean, tidy and pleasant smelling. We bathe regularly, use expensive perfumes, apply make-up, put on good looking clothes, and do many other things of this sort, to make a good impression and keep up a good appearance. After all, we would not want to emit body odour and feel embarrassed in the presence of others, and we would not want to appear unkempt. But all these efforts to maintaining cleanliness are merely external cleanliness. What about our internal cleanliness, that is, the cleanliness of our soul?
In today's Gospel, Jesus
admonished the Pharisees when he said: "Oh, you Pharisees! You clean the
outside of cup and plate, while inside yourselves you are filled with
extortion and wickedness. Fools! Did not he who made the outside make
the inside too? Instead, give alms from what you have and then indeed
everything will be clean for you." The Pharisees were more interested in appearing to be good and holy, and they observed many practices to appear to be clean, but they neglected in keeping their spiritual sides clean. In the same way, we too could be appearing be clean, but we may be neglecting to keep our souls clean from the stain of sin. Are we interested in only external appearance, which is temporary? Or have we made effort to remain clean internally, by keeping our souls clean from sin?