Readings: Galatians 5:1-6; Psalm 118; Luke 11:37-41
What Jesus says to the Pharisee is a bit obscure: 'as to what is within, give alms': that's the translation to which you are referred here. But what can that mean? 'Give alms from what you have' is another translation but it says nothing really: from what else could one give alms? The proper translation seems to be 'give for alms those things that are within'. It fits with what Jesus is saying about the outside and the inside. It also links neatly with what Paul says in the first reading: what counts is not circumcision or uncircumcision - things external - but 'faith working through love'.
We are being asked to give of ourselves, then, and of our deepest selves, sharing what we think, how we feel, what we believe, what it is we value. What is within must be purified in the first place, Jesus says: what we think, how we feel, what we believe, what it is we value. There are many practical consequences once we begin to consider the fantasies that occupy our minds, the disortions that trouble our feelings, the questions that challenge our faith, the ambivalences that leave our hearts divided.
The way to this purification is not simply through asceticism and willpower. It is through remaining in the company of Christ, living by His Spirit, continuing to seek the freedom for which He has set us free. The way is through prayer, that which is most within in any human being, the only place from which our faith can work through our love.