Wednesday, August 26, 2015
Reflection: Matthew 23:27-32
Wednesday of the 21st Week in Ordinary Time — Matthew 23:27-32
Today in the Gospel, Jesus continues his diatribe about the Pharisees. He bluntly calls them hypocrites. He likens them to “whitewashed tombs” which look beautiful but deep within the tombs are nothing but bones and filth.
Place yourself in the Pharisees’ shoes. How would you react if someone accused you of the depth of hypocrisy that Jesus was accusing the Pharisees of? The Pharisees appeared to be righteous. However, Jesus accuses them of being filled with hypocrisy and evil. How dare he? Who did he think he was to make such critical and public remarks to the Pharisees? After all, they were the leaders in the temple. They were doing good, not evil.
The sad reality is that all of us have a “Pharisee” within us. I assume that most of us strive to look good. Naturally we desire to be esteemed and appreciated. We want to be competent, successful and happy. And this is natural and normal. However, we also may try to hide the vulnerable and fearful side of ourselves. We may try to hide what we consider our “bones and our filth.” We don’t want people to see this side of ourselves. We want to look happy, successful, fulfilled and satisfied.
Today Jesus is speaking to us. He realizes that we also are hypocrites at times. And he knows that we want to look good and be successful. These are natural desires and hopes. However, periodically we may need to ask ourselves: Am I being hypocritical? Am I presenting myself as good and holy, when at times I am a hypocrite? Jesus doesn’t expect us to be perfect. However, he desires that we be who we are and not pretend to be holier, happier or more satisfied than in reality we are.
Jesus simply desires that we be authentic. He wants us to be the best we can be and trust that this is enough. Can we believe and trust this? I hope so!