While Jesus was speaking, a Pharisee invited him to dine with him; so he went in and took his place at the table. The Pharisee was amazed to see that he did not first wash before dinner. Then the Lord said to him, “Now you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness. You fools! Did not the one who made the outside make the inside also? So give for alms those things that are within; and see, everything will be clean for you.
“But woe to you Pharisees! For you tithe mint and rue and herbs of all kinds, and neglect justice and the love of God; it is these you ought to have practiced, without neglecting the others. Woe to you Pharisees! For you love to have the seat of honor in the synagogues and to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces. Woe to you! For you are like unmarked graves, and people walk over them without realizing it.”
One of the lawyers answered him, “Teacher, when you say these things, you insult us too.” And he said, “Woe also to you lawyers! For you load people with burdens hard to bear, and you yourselves do not lift a finger to ease them. Woe to you! For you build the tombs of the prophets whom your ancestors killed. So you are witnesses and approve of the deeds of your ancestors; for they killed them, and you build their tombs. Therefore also the Wisdom of God said, ‘I will send them prophets and apostles, some of whom they will kill and persecute,’ so that this generation may be charged with the blood of all the prophets shed since the foundation of the world, from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, who perished between the altar and the sanctuary. Yes, I tell you, it will be charged against this generation. Woe to you lawyers! For you have taken away the key of knowledge; you did not enter yourselves, and you hindered those who were entering.” Luke 11:37-52
When our daughter Ariel was struggling in school after first grade, they had us come meet her second grade teacher. Ariel was to be put in a special needs class and we were anxious for our bright little one. Her new teacher, Dr. Rainwater, welcomed us and then looked at Ariel. She said, "Ariel, you are very bright. I am sorry you struggled. There is nothing wrong with you. It is my job this year to find the key that unlocks that amazing brain." As the tears rolled down our cheeks, we nodded as Ariel grinned from ear to ear, knowing she was going to have a great learning experience.
Jesus is invited to dinner by the high and mighty. They think themselves clever and in charge of all things. He does not mince words but tells them just how unfaithful they have been. They have kept knowledge and wealth for themselves and use it to punish others who are less fortunate. They, who have everything, have abused everyone. This is one of the times when we see Jesus most riled up. He cannot abide such abuse of the weak. God invites us who have the good fortune to gain knowledge, understanding and position, to remember that each is a gift from God. A gift that comes with the expectation that we share all of our blessings, helping everyone around us.
Today I ask God to help me give freely and love without limits. May we all share the blessings we have been given, opening doors to others who have been shut out. May we remember when we were needy and respond to those around us with the compassion we desire, now and always.