The Pharisee who has invited him to dinner observes that Jesus sits down and begins eating without first performing the required ritual washing of hands.
The Pharisees are strict in following the Law of Moses. They fence the law with their teachings. They believe that their teachings are the first line of defense of the law. They have developed many teachings since post-exilic times.
Jesus responds to the Pharisees just as strongly as he is criticized, in keeping with his momentum as a prophet eradicating what does not come from God. Jesus is not content with purifying the outside. He wants cleansing of hearts and minds. The Pharisees appear clean before their own eyes, but in God’s eyes, they are full of filth, for they extort money from the people. Jesus teaches them to be clean inside by giving alms and by being charitable.
Gospel • Lk 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.”
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