"The Pharisee was amazed to see that he did not observe the prescribed washing before the meal." Lk 11:38
Ritual washing was important in the Judaism of Jesus' day, especially before a meal. Jesus would have known this and the reader wonders if he refused to wash his hands to make a point with the Pharisees who were often trying to trip him up.
Jesus is deeply concerned that the Pharisees, while careful about the rituals of Judaism, were failing to live the law's intent, and he makes this clear when he tells his host to give alms and everything will be clean. Catholics must also be careful in this regard. It is not enough to go to Mass each Sunday, fast and abstain during Lent, and vote as if we have no obligation to the poor or to people around the world.
While it is important to practice our faith each day with prayer and reflection, it is also necessary to let our faith guide us in the bigger questions that we face as believers each day. How we budget our money both to live simply and generously, and how we mentor younger members to have reverence for all creation are everyday ways of practicing our faith that mark us as disciples eager to proclaim the good news with our lives.
Today, give alms without letting your right hand know what your left is doing.
What do you think are the most important practices of faith?