Tuesday of the Twenty-First Week in Ordinary Time(Click here for readings)
By FAITH NOAH
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites.
You cleanse the outside of cup and dish,
but inside they are full of plunder and self-indulgence.
Blind Pharisee, cleanse first the inside of the cup,
so that the outside also may be clean.”
We are all cups. This analogy is what strikes me most in today’s Gospel reading. It seems like a fitting comparison, since we so often “fill ourselves up” with both the good and the bad. Similarly, we take what we have filled ourselves up with and pour it out, leaving a legacy that impacts all around us.
Isaiah 64:8 says, “But now, O LORD, You are our Father, We are the clay, and You our potter; And all of us are the work of Your hand.” We are God’s personally crafted clay cups.
But, like us, a clay cup is fragile. It can’t get through life unscathed. It undoubtedly picks up chips and cracks along the way.
The Pharisees were chipped and cracked like the rest of us, but their problem was that they tried to hide it. They boasted perfection and righteousness, but all the while, they were falling apart under their masks.
Despite their best attempts to fill themselves up with God’s Word, their cracks—and their pride—were so immense that anything of God that filled their cup quickly seeped out.
So preoccupied with achieving the most and being the best, they failed to attend to the state of their cups. Inside, theywere dirty and scarred.
Nobody is perfect. The insides of our cups are all dirty and scarred. Why, then, do we feel so much pressure to cleanse the outside? Why do we paint over the chips and fill in the cracks? Are we trying to act like we don’t struggle? Are we all just pretending?
Christ didn’t pretend. The ONLY perfect person to walk this earth let His wounds show. So why don’t we?
Christ’s resurrected body bore the marks of His nails. He didn’t erase them when He rose from the dead. Rather, they served as a reminder of the trial He faced—and overcame.He boasted in His wounds, inviting the nonbelievers to see and touch the proof of His suffering.
Cracks don’t have to be a bad thing. Christ’s cup was cracked by sin and death, but with His ultimate victory, He allowed light to pierce through this darkness. This is, after all, why we should boast not in our perfection, but in our cracks. There is something holy and profound about admitting we are cracked.
In fact, cracks in a clay cup are beautifu.. When your soul is illuminated, it’s the cracks that allow your light to shine through.
Those that shine the most often possess the most cracked cups. Despite their battle scars, they emanate God’s luminous joy. This is what it means to clean the inside ofthe cup: to admit imperfection…and shine anyway.
Being clean inside and out does not mean being without fault. Rather, it necessitates inviting God into these faults.
It’s okay not to be okay. We shouldn’t spend so much time attempting to achieve perfection on the outside while our cups falls apart inside. Rather, we should model Christ, being both broken and beautiful.
We don’t have to be perfect to clean our inner cups. All we have to do is accept these cracks, and let God turn them into passages through which His light can shine.Faith Noah graduated from Ursuline Academy way back in 2014 and was valedictorian of her class. She is currently a student at Vanderbilt University and contributes to this blog whenever she can. She is an outstanding young lady with amazing grace and faith.