“Daring to imitate our Blessed Lord in ‘washing the windows’, in order to clear the view for a cleaner, fresher and brighter practising of our faith!”
(Based on 1 Cor 4:1-5 and Lk 5:33-39 – Friday of the 22nd Week in Ordinary Time)
John Wanamaker was an American merchant and a religious and civic leader.
He is considered by some, to be the proponent of advertising and a “pioneer in marketing”.
Once, a neat and handsome young man, applied to John Wanamaker for a job.
This young fellow was told that there was no job for him.
But the young man persisted, “I am willing to take up any work!”
With a view to get rid of him, Mr Wanamaker said, “The only job I have is the job of washing windows”
“Yes, I am willing” said the enthusiastic young man!
He washed those windows as they never had been.
He also showed a great sense of responsibility.
Within a short period, he became the manager of the store.
When this man died, after a splendid service of nearly two decades, Mr Wanamaker said:
“I am willing to pay as high as one hundred thousand dollars for a manager, who can fill the place of the one I lost!”
The young man’s willingness and his committed act of “washing the windows” brought about a change of mentality and won accolades galore!
Today, perhaps, the Church is in a great need for people who are willing to “wash the windows” for the sake of the Kingdom…
… windows which are sometimes dirtied with the dust of ritualism, legalism and relativism
… windows which are sometimes tainted with the stains of corruption, scandals and misconduct
… windows which are sometimes splattered with the blemishes of indifference, injustice and inactions
The Gospel of the day presents Jesus who courageously dares to “wash the windows”, in order to clear away the dust of legal fanaticism, religious rigidity and spiritual gloominess!
The passage in consideration (Lk 5: 33-39) begins with an interrogative complaint by the Pharisees and Scribes, on why His disciples ‘ate and drank’ whereas the disciples of John the Baptist as well as the Pharisees fasted often and offered prayers (Lk 5: 33)
The immediate context of this passage is the Call of Levi, the tax collector and the grand party hosted by him, in honour of Jesus (Lk 5: 27-32)
Jesus, later on, in His ministry would say, “There is more rejoicing over one sinner who repents and returns to God, than over ninety-nine righteous persons, who need no repentance” (Lk 15:7)
Levi, the tax-collector was called by Jesus to follow Him – an occasion of a “lost sheep” returning back to the arms of the Shepherd!
It was a moment of great joy and happiness!
It was a moment of leaving the old self behind and embracing the newness of Christ!
It was a moment of immersing oneself in the new life in Christ and being ‘drunk’ with His love!
In this context, when the religious leaders questioned Jesus on why were His disciples into “eating and drinking” unlike the disciples of John the Baptist and Pharisees, who were into rigorous fasting and prayer…
… Jesus gives a fitting reply using three imageries:
- The imagery of the wedding guests feasting, when the Bridegroom is with them (Lk 5: 34-35)
It pointed to the “moments of great joy and happiness, that is experienced” when one recognises Jesus as the bridegroom – the True Love of one’s life and the Primary Purpose of one’s existence (Gal 2: 20)!
- The imagery of the patched garments (Lk 5: 36)
It pointed to the “moments of leaving the old self behind and embracing the newness of Christ”, and putting on the New and Festal Garment of Christ (Gal 3: 27)
- The imagery of the wine and wineskin (Lk 5: 37-39)
It pointed to the “moments of immersing oneself in the new life in Christ and being ‘drunk’ with His love”, and cherishing the experience of discovering the Lord as the true and only source and foundation of happiness in life (1 Cor 3: 11).
In short, our Blessed Lord was pointing to a renewed perspective in one’s relationship with God…
Doing away with “legal fanaticism” that cripples one’s life with mere external following of rituals and rubrics
… and instead to discover the real meaning and purpose of one’s actions of piety and religiosity!
Doing away with “religious rigidity” that steals away any spontaneity and openness in one’s life of faith…
.. and instead to unearth the freedom that often lies buried, and to relate without any inhibitions with one’s Loving Creator!
Doing away with “spiritual gloominess” that casts a dark and ugly veil on one’s practices of spirituality…
… and instead to unwrap the gifts of happiness, trust and genuine bliss that is constantly bestowed by God!
Our practise of faith and spirituality certainly is in a constant need of a “cleaning up”!
Our understanding and perspectives on religion is in ever need of “sprucing up”!
Else, it can very easily happen, that…
… religion turns out to be a farce
… practices of piety fail to touch and inspire lives
… acts of charity turn out to be hypocritical gestures
St Paul reminds all of us – the stewards of the Lord on this earth – to possess the quality of being trustworthy workers: “It is required of stewards that they be found trustworthy” (1 Cor 4:2)
On this First Friday of the Month, as we consecrate ourselves to the Sacred Heart of our Blessed, we hear His words of invitation: “Learn from Me…”
May we dare to imitate our Blessed Lord in “washing the windows”, in order to clear the view for a cleaner, fresher and brighter practising of our faith!
God Bless! Live Jesus!
Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “Charity never enters a heart without bringing with it all the other virtues…