Jesus said, "Woe to you, scribes
and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You are like whitewashed tombs, which
appear beautiful on the outside, but inside are full
of dead men´s bones and every kind of filth.
Even so, on the outside you appear righteous, but inside
you are filled with hypocrisy and evildoing. Woe to
you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You build the
tombs of the prophets and adorn the memorials of the
righteous, and you say, ´If we had lived in
the days of our ancestors, we would not have
joined them in shedding the prophets´ blood.´ Thus you bear
witness against yourselves that you are the children of
those who murdered the prophets; now fill up what
your ancestors measured out!"
Introductory Prayer: Lord Jesus, I believe
that you are “the Way, the Truth and the
Life” (John 14:6). I humbly come before you today. I
trust completely in you, and therefore I want my
life to be an open book where you write
the pages of my life story.
Jesus, grant me a sincere and humble heart.
What You See Is Not What You Get! One of
the sternest reprimands Jesus gave was against the hypocrisy
of those charged with the grave task of leading
God’s people. They were called to transmit the hope
of God’s promise of deliverance: “I will be your God
and you shall be my people” (Jeremiah 24:7). Yet
their vain righteousness was nothing but self-indulgence that burdened
the flock of Israel to the point of despair.
Instead of helping the people of God to turn from
sin to a life of fidelity to God’s love,
they preyed upon the spiritual sensitivity of the people for
their own sordid gain.
2. Guillotine of Saints or
Saints to the Guillotine? Human respect is the “guillotine of
saints.” It has a suicidal effect and a deadly
capacity to cut short the action of a zealous heart.
Human respect renders love of God and souls sterile
because it is nothing but pride disguised as fear,
doubt, or the sophism of not wanting to hurt others’
feelings. True charity, on the other hand, gives testimony
to the truth, regardless of the consequences this may
bring – even persecution or the sword (cf. Romans
8:35). Shunning human respect may lead us to the “guillotine”
of ridicule or persecution, but then we are on
our way to becoming saints.
3. Like Father, Like Son; Hypocrites
All: The Pharisees’ ancestors killed the prophets for chastising
the people in God’s name. Now, Jesus ironically urges
the Pharisees to prove themselves worthy of their heritage.
Jesus separated himself from the religious leaders of the time.
Unlike the Pharisees and Temple priests, who had become
like mercenaries for the flock of Israel, Jesus was
the Good Shepherd. Jesus instituted a new priesthood, based
on his own: that of the Suffering Servant, the Paschal
Lamb, the Messiah, the Second Person of the Holy
Trinity. He made all things new and in truth
set us free from sin.
Conversation with Christ:
Oh Jesus, I thank you with all my
heart for redeeming me. You let me hear your voice
gently calling me. Strengthen me in faith, and fill
me with your love so that I can one
day join St Paul in saying, “It is no longer
I who live, but Christ who lives in me”
Resolution: I will be an enemy of
hypocrisy and insincerity in my dealings with others today.