Monday, August 25, 2014

Our lives say much more about how we think than our books do

He rightly reads scripture who turns words into deeds. ~St. Bernard of Clairvaux

Gospel Text: (MT 23:13-22)
Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples:
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites.
You lock the Kingdom of heaven before men.
You do not enter yourselves,
nor do you allow entrance to those trying to enter.

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites.
You traverse sea and land to make one convert,
and when that happens you make him a child of Gehenna
twice as much as yourselves.

“Woe to you, blind guides, who say,
‘If one swears by the temple, it means nothing,
but if one swears by the gold of the temple, one is obligated.’
Blind fools, which is greater, the gold,
or the temple that made the gold sacred?
And you say, ‘If one swears by the altar, it means nothing,
but if one swears by the gift on the altar, one is obligated.’
You blind ones, which is greater, the gift,
or the altar that makes the gift sacred?
One who swears by the altar swears by it and all that is upon it;
one who swears by the temple swears by it
and by him who dwells in it;
one who swears by heaven swears by the throne of God
and by him who is seated on it.”

Hypocrite. We all know the word, “hypocrite.” What is a hypocrite? A phony. A two-faced person, pretending to be a friend but is really an enemy in disguise. A hypocrite is a pretender, pretending to have love for you but does not. Saying the pretty words of love. Making the motions of love. Putting on a good face of love. Being totally charming and loving. But that person does not really love you. Pretending to have strong feelings for you but it is all a farce.

Hypocrisy is a cynical pretense of being a good person while disregarding the morality, which is claimed to be followed. The difference between that person and the person who strives but fails to live up to their beliefs while repenting is vast. Some people claim there are too many hypocrites in the Church. I say there aren’t as many as they claim. It is just an excuse they use for not coming to church. When you hear that kind of talk just say, “Oh come on, one more won’t make any difference”.

The older I get the more convinced I am that Christianity is not so much about being good as it is being true with the knowledge that Jesus Christ is the Truth. It is Jesus who makes us good, not our goodness that makes us Christians.

Another thing to remember about hypocrisy is that hypocrisy does not consist in failing to practice what we preach, we all fall short. Hypocrisy consists in not believing what we preach.

We must listen to our consciences and allow Jesus to form them through His Church. This requires a docile spirit and heart, one in which God the “potter” can mold us the “clay”. Only He can make us holy. If we maintain our intimacy and closeness to Jesus, He will change our hearts and the rest will take care of itself.

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