Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Some nights are made for torture, or reflection

One may understand the cosmos, but never the ego; the self is more distant than any star. ~G.K. Chesterton (1874 –1936: English writer, lay theologian, poet, & philosopher)

Gospel Text: (Mt 23:27-32)
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!”

In today’s Gospel, Jesus has harsh words for the scribes and Pharisees and, at the same time, provides us with the opportunity to examine our own hearts. Jesus chastises the scribes and Pharisees for being hypocrites who appear beautiful and righteous on the outside, like “whitewashed tombs,” but whom on the inside are “full of dead men’s bones and every kind of filth.” He continues by noting their hypocrisy and evildoing.

As many know, the scribes and Pharisees were intensely religious in all outward appearances, but this failed to match with what was truly inside. In essence, they tended to be pure ritually, but impure in their hearts. As I relate this teaching to my own life, I strive to look for consonance between what I believe and feel in my heart and how I act with others. I truly do my best to follow the teachings of Jesus in my attempt to get closer to God. Among the many lessons we learned from Jesus, I appreciate his teachings about acceptance, tolerance, patience, and, of course, love. In examining my own life, I do my very best to determine whether my daily actions truly match what is in my heart and vice versa. And where there is dissonance then I, too, am acting like the scribes and Pharisees that Jesus took to task.

I know we all recognize the importance of self-reflection, but I can think of few ways where such reflection assists us in not only examining our daily lives in a deeper manner, but reflection allows us the opportunity to then change our actions and, more importantly, our hearts. And if we are truly open to and accept the words of God then from there only good things can come!

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