As children, one of the first lessons we learned was table manners, like:
- Don’t talk when your mouth is full;
- Wash your hands before eating;
- Say prayers before and after meals;
- Don’t touch the food;
- Elbows off the table.
Of course, one of the most important objectives of table manners is to ensure that the food we eat is clean.
In the Gospel today, the Pharisees criticized Jesus because he did not follow the ritual in ensuring cleanliness. The response of Christ: more than the cleanliness of utensils, isn’t the cleanliness of the heart more important?
Hence, one of the challenges of today’s Mass is the cleanliness of the heart and three things we can do:
- Confession. We must remember that sin affects our relationship with God and our neighbor. Hence, confession is very important as it humbles us to apologize through a priest.
- Reflection. Socrates once said, “An unexamined life is not worth living.” Time is so fast and we can be so consumed with so many things, hence it is very helpful to just be still and listen to the Lord.
- Spiritual Direction. Indeed there are things in our life that we do not see, which other people see. Hence, their inputs are very helpful.
A quote in the book Little Prince says, “The Heart sees what is essential in life.” But it can only do so when our heart is clean. Hence our prayer, “Create in me a clean heart O’ Lord.”