Some of the leaders consistently criticized Jesus for not following the letter of the Law. Jesus responds by saying that it is what lies WITHIN the heart that truly matters, not external appearances. In other words, you can follow the letter of the Law, appearing to be holy, but be filled with evil within. The words Jesus uses are strong and harsh, many would say even judgmental. But he doesn’t seem to care about such sensibilities, since he frequently lashes out at individuals who love to point their finger at others who aren’t following all the laws and prescriptions.
On the Camino, it’s easy to judge other people’s journey by the places they stay or the food they eat. You can’t stay in a hotel or eat at a good restaurant to be “authentic” , nor can you send your backpack via a service to avoid carrying such a heavy load. Or if you take a train or taxi skipping some of the “steps.” To make such judgements is so horrible because there are pilgrims living with the after effects of chemotherapy, surgery or the debilitating realities associated with MS or ALS. Yes, many people are walking this difficult journey carrying a heavy inner load of suffering. They are an inspiration to all, perhaps more so than the self-appointed authentic pilgrims who simply wish to be noticed.
Jesus teaches the most beautiful antidote to judging by appearances: give ALMS. May this sacrifice of money to help one in need purify our inner intentions…the ones that lie within the heart, unseen by all…except God.