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Home » Daily Gospel, Daily Readings

Inside The Cup

Submitted by on Tuesday, 14 October 2008No Comment
  • Reading I: Galatians 5:1-6
  • Resp. Psalm: Psalm 119:41,47-48
  • Gospel Reading: Luke 11:37-41


There are three things about the way the evangelists portray the Pharisees that aid us in interpreting today’s gospel selection.

  1. Pharisees are hypocrites. 
  2. For all their piety, they forget that it is mercy that God wants and not sacrifices
  3. They are sticklers for the observance of the Law

In today’s gospel selection, Jesus denounces the Pharisees because of their concern over Jesus’ not doing the ablutions before the meal.  Verse 41 is difficult in translation, 1  but the sense is to be understood from the inside-outside contrast employed and the following verse 42.  The Pharisees are concerned about outward cleanliness, yet inside they are full of wickedness.  What they should be concerned about is giving alms and being attentive to the demands of love for neighbor (v.42).  If they do this, then all — both the inside and outside — is clean.

This particular selection (which should have included v. 42) ties up well with the first reading where Paul tells the Galatians that for Christ whether one is circumcised or uncircumcised does not matter.  What matters is "faith working through love."  Giving alms was an act of compassion; it is not an accident that both "compassion/mercy" and "alms" derive from the same root (eleo).  Love for neighbor is tied up with compassion, as the Parable of the Good Samaritan shows (cf. Luke 10).

Galatians 5:1-6
View in: NAB NIV KJV NJB Vulg Greek
1Stand fast, and be not held again under the yoke of bondage.
2Behold, I Paul tell you, that if you be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing.
3And I testify again to every man circumcising himself, that he is a debtor to the whole law.
4You are made void of Christ, you who are justified in the law: you are fallen from grace.
5For we in spirit, by faith, wait for the hope of justice.
6For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision: but faith that worketh by charity.
Psalm 119:41,47-48
View in: NAB NIV KJV NJB Vulg LXX Hebrew
41VAU. Let thy mercy also come upon me, O Lord: thy salvation according to thy word.
47I meditated also on thy commandments, which I loved.
48And I lifted up my hands to thy commandments, which I loved: and I was exercised in thy justifications.
Luke 11:37-41
View in: NAB NIV KJV NJB Vulg Greek
37And as he was speaking, a certain Pharisee prayed him, that he would dine with him. And he going in, sat down to eat.
38And the Pharisee began to say, thinking within himself, why he was not washed before dinner.
39And the Lord said to him: Now you Pharisees make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter; but your inside is full of rapine and iniquity.
40Ye fools, did not he that made that which is without, make also that which is within?
41But yet that which remaineth, give alms; and behold, all things are clean unto you.

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  1. The NAB gives the following rendering for v. 41

    But as to what is within,
    give alms,
    and behold, everything will be clean for you. (The Weymouth NT gives a similar rendering.)

    This I think is the preferrable translation (Compare it with the ones found at Biblos’ Multilingual Bible).  The Greek has the following:


    "ta enonta" has been construed by some translations as "what remains/ left over" (see Jerome’s "superest"), although it can also mean "the things within/inside".  But all these difficulties introduced by the word "plen" — which can mean many things — becomes clearer if one includes v. 42. []

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