Seeing the world through a theological lens...
Luke 11:37-44While he 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.”
Jesus Isn't the most polite dinner guest. That being said, it wasn't very nice of the Pharisee to react "amazed" that Jesus hadn't washed his hands, even if he didn't say anything out loud. It is kind of gross from our modern hygienic and uber-germophobic standpoint (especially during a pandemic) that Jesus came in from touching who knows what and who knows who and doesn't wash his hands before he eats. Yikes!
But Jesus didn't do anything without intention. He knew the Pharisees prided themselves on ritual; on keeping the most minute detail of the law. Watching Jesus, a Jew, a Rabbi, sit down and ignore one of their ritual cleanliness laws, one of the basics, absolutely would amaze the Pharisee.
In my house growing up, it would have been like putting a book, snack plate or cup on top of the living room Bible. There was a sacredness to things, a holiness code, if you will. And growing up in my house, you knew better than to mess with that.
Jesus knew better than to sit at the table without washing his hands- but he did it anyway. He also knew the Pharisee would react as he did- but he did it anyway. Jesus was a teacher, and this was an object lesson. 'It's more important to love others than keep all those laws about making yourself clean/acceptable. You're missing the point of living a sacred life. The holiness code is not about you, it's about loving others, doing justice, showing mercy."
Or, if he were in my childhood living room, he'd have at that point, placed his coffee cup down on the living room bible and gotten down on the floor to play with us kids.
What rituals and traditions did you grow up with? Have they helped or hindered your spiritual journey?