Jesus said, «Woe to you, teachers of the Law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs beautiful in appearance, but inside there are only dead bones and uncleanness. In the same way you appear as religious to others, but you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness within. Woe to you, teachers of the Law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You build tombs for the prophets and decorate the monuments of the righteous. You say: Had we lived in the time of our ancestors, we would not have joined them in the blood of prophets. So, you yourselves confess to be kins of those who murdered the prophets. And now, finish off what your ancestors began!».
Though the words of Jesus apparently looks very harsh on the teachers of the Law and the Pharisees, and today the Lord does not accuse our past, but rather invites us to review our lives and not to repeat our past mistakes in the present. Conversion is always possible, if we put ourselves before God, with a humble and open heart, in all sincerity.
Gospel of the day, thus invites us, to look at and purify, with the grace of God, our own interiority where all kinds of wickedness are found. If our thoughts are pure, our actions will also be pure. Even if we fail here, God will help us to correct it.
The world sees us and understand us from what we say and do, but God sees us as we are, including our thoughts, intentions and actions. In the first reading St. Paul addresses the people and reveals his inner self and shares with them his thoughts and actions, which are just not only before men, but also before God.
We must ensure that, as baptized people, even in our righteous acts, we do not do harm to our enemies. Before going to bed, we must ask ourselves this question in all sincerity, were my actions consistent with God's will and in these actions, was I right before God?
Action of the day: Be watchful of your interiority.
«Woe to you, teachers of the Law and Pharisees, you hypocrites!»
+ Fr. Lluís ROQUÉ i Roqué
(Manresa, Barcelona, Spain)
Today, as in previous days, and in others to follow, we contemplate Jesus, beside oneself, condemning those attitudes incompatible with a dignified and decent life, not only Christian but also human: «You appear as religious to others, but you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness within» (Mt 23:28). He confirms us that sincerity, honesty, loyalty, nobility, are virtues God loves and are, also, very much appreciated by us, humans.
Therefore, if I wish to avoid being a hypocrite I must be very sincere. First, with God. Because He wants me pure in heart and hating all lies, as He is totally pure, the true Truth. Secondly, with myself, so that I am not the first one to be deceived, exposed to sin against the Holy Spirit for not admitting my own sins or not clearly making them manifest in the Sacrament of Penance, or for not trusting God enough, He who never condemns the prodigal son or loses anyone for being a sinner, but rather for not admitting to be one. In the third place, with others, for —like in the case of Jesus— lies, deception, insincerity, dishonesty, disloyalty and low-mindedness..., drive us up the wall and, therefore, we should be able to apply to ourselves the principle: «Do unto others as you would have them to do unto you».
In order not to fall in hypocrisy, we have to make ours these three attitudes —that we can just consider as plain common sense— while assuming that we need the sanctified grace, because of the original sin originated by the “father of lies”: the devil. This is why we should pay attention to St. Josemaria's exhortation: «When the time of examination comes, be prepared against the dumb devil»; we shall also bear in mind Origen, who says: «All faked saintliness remains dead because it does not work by the impulse of God», and we shall be always lead by the elementary and simple principle proposed by God: «Let your ‘Yes’ mean ‘Yes’, and your ‘No’ mean ‘No’» (Mt 5:37).
The Virgin Mary does not overdo herself with words, but her yes to goodness, to grace, was unique and truthful; and her ‘no’ to evil, to sin, was emphatic and sincere.